Friday, July 13, 2012

Excerpt from Parts of Noah (2): A Brief Explanation

Parts of Noah is a story that I wrote a few years ago. Out of my personal story collection, Noah is the most strange and morbid piece I have. I won't get into the themes or inspiration here, that'll come at a later date, but I'll touch on the structure and basic plotline of the story. Noah is a story that exists in the awkward realm between short story and novella. It is the longest complete piece of fiction that I've written, but it runs a little too long to be considered short fiction. But it also isn't as long or complex as a novella or full on novel would be. So I don't know how I'd ever publish the story, maybe in a short story collection, or maybe I'll build it into a novel one day, though the version I have feels very complete.

Once again, this story is narrated by a troubled young man. Big surprise, eh? You're probably picking up a theme, those following the fiction that I've been posting. However, Noah, the narrator, is much more complicated than other characters I've created. The narrator actually has a name, this time around. There are moments and hints throughout the narrative that lead any thoughtful reader to believe that Noah definitely isn't reliable. Everything he describes could be a hallucination, a fantasy, or you could take it at face value, which would mean he's living in a supernatural world. Let's just say, some mind bending occurrences happen throughout the narrative, making you wonder where 'reality' ends and Noah's perception begins.

The structure of the piece is unlike anything I'd written before or since. The narratovie is constructed like a scrapbook of fragments. The story is told chronologically, all the events happen in the order that Noah describes them, but there are narration and scenes that are left out, leaving a disconnected feeling. At some points, there are just lines of description or dialogue, floating out of time, just carrying the themes of the story along. It's quite disorienting, but not too confusing. It's a story made up a thoughts, conversations, and details. You could say that the story is only 'parts' of Noah, hence the title. As I've stated before, I make structure and formatting decisions based on the needs of each story that I write. I didn't throw together a collage of random scenes just for the hell of it, the structure of the story is very much tied in with Noah's characterization and the themes that I explore.

Here's the very basic plotline, for future reference as I post more parts of the story. Early in the day, Noah, an independant and moody young man, witnesses his dog Abraham get shot by a stray bullet. Throughout the rest of the day, Noah has one question on his mind: Where does a stray bullet come from? As he wanders through his city, which may or  may not be filled with monsters and super-beings, he encounters various eccentric characters who each share their theory about where the bullet came from. Characters include Cash, who believes he's immortal, Dizzy, who may or may not be a ghost, Zeus, a wise old drug dealer who knows he's immortal, and Zeus's main lady, Mai, who is as dangerous as she is quiet. As the day goes on, Noah keeps popping pills, and his grasp on his own reality between to slip, and he unravels. That's as much as I'll say for now, because this story is much more about the execution than the plotline. You'll notice that most of my stories involve the narrator devolving throughout, which is likely due to the fact that those are the stories (in any form of entertainment) that intrigue me the most.

I'll be posting parts from all over the story, not necessarily in order. So think of these posts as parts of Parts of Noah, not the complete piece. I doubt I'll ever post it all, which the structure and length, but it's a great story to pull monologues and scenes from. Over the next little while, I'll be specifically posting character monologues about where a stray bullet comes from, connecting all the monologues as a running theme of the story. As you read, try and think of your own theory: where does a stray bullet come from?

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