This week was the Narrative JAM, where we were tasked with writing a short story that had to be “fragmented” – told in a different way or order to how a story would normally be told.
For my story, I decided to tell one of Eli’s adventures. Specifically, the day he lost the use of his legs, as this was a defining moment for his character. I felt that continuing the adventures of the character I have been with for two weeks was fitting and also interesting, as Eli is an inspiration fountain for stories (being a disabled Mexican police officer in the centre of a gang/drug infested city springs many story ideas). Thinking back to the questions I answered on Eli during the Character JAM, I realised I had touched upon but not really gone into detail regarding the incident where Eli lost the use of his legs;
Did anything special ever happen to him?
- He was shot in the back saving a child from gunfire
Using this brief sentence, I started to construct my story. The Incident (as it became known) was the centrepiece, and using that I began to branch out.
(Some initial ideas notes I made while coming up with the story branches)
I used different perspectives as my method of “fragmenting” the story as I felt it would give an entertaining and interesting look at what happened to Eli and would also allow me to fully explore his “origin” story. Having decided this, I settled on five perspectives:
- The Police
- The Child’s Family
- The Gang
- The Rival Gang
Each one of these would bring something new to the story; Eli’s would tell the tale of how he came to be at the site of the Incident (the warehouse); The Gang’s would explain why the warehouse was important; The Child’s Family’s would explain why children were present that Eli had to save; The Rival Gang’s would explain why The Gang were at the warehouse at that time, and The Police’s would explain the aftermath of the Incident.
Spoilers for the story now follow. Use the link above to read the full story (3300 words).
Each perspective would shed more light on the Incident, and would also go a little further forward in time i.e. The Gang’s perspective ends on them shooting the warehouse, but the Girls’s Family perspective goes a little further with Eli jumping in front of the gunfire. Pablo’s Gang goes further still with the characters reacting to Eli falling, and The Police finish the story with the aftermath. I decided to do this so each perspective wouldn’t seem too repetitive and become boring, this way something new is added each time so the reader can construct more of what happens.
The final thing I will talk about in this post is the ending. As I was getting towards the end of writing the story I found myself underwhelmed with what would have been the ending; Eli going to hospital. So I decided to mix things up a bit.
The result was a strange ending that I’m not quite sure how I feel about; on one hand it’s interesting and certainly makes for an entertaining and mysterious ending, but on the other it feels out of place and doesn’t really fit with the rest of the story. I deliberately left the description of the Unknown vague so that the readers can make up their own theories as to who/what it was and why it was there. For now I shall leave it as a mystery, which I may address should the opportunity arise in future JAMs.
Overall I very much enjoyed the Narrative JAM. I have always felt I am stronger in creative writing and storytelling as I enjoy it a lot so this JAM gave me a chance to do something I really like. The result was a good origin story for Eli that could do with some refining but in my opinion is a solidly interesting and entertaining read. I learned a great deal about methods of storytelling in this JAM (fragmented stories and the Monomyth theory) and greatly look forward to putting these to use in future narratives.