• R Cipolletta

e21: The Detective (It_3)

Brainstorming Session W/ Specialist 19.10.20

The Catalyst (Revised)

The Unreliable Narrator:

I'm writing this retrospectively as I've been thinking a lot about my meeting with this specialist since I had it, and a lot of the following ideas came to me after speaking to them but before having the chance to write about it.

In my brainstorming session with mum (entry 14), she recommended that I speak with an old friend of ours, Tiffany Amuah, - BA English Literature and History and MA History: Race and Resistance graduate - who now works in copywriting, to discuss my application of storytelling from a writing-field perspective. As it turns out she would prove to be a perfect fulfilment for my learning outcome requirement for reaching out to specialist audiences, something I was disheartened about following the lack of further response from SACS.


As in previous brainstorming sessions, I laid out all of my thoughts on the existing storyline as a form of casual, pseudo-presentation. This then transitioned into a praises/constructive criticism session and a dialogue concerning different reservations I had toward my work and her suggested solutions. I have sent her the link to my entry on the case file installation concept (entry 5) to get some feedback on that at her convenience and will note it down once I receive it.


In particular, I confronted once more my inexplicable displeasure with convoluted storylines in horror fiction. I have always found myself preferring solitary post-apocalyptic narratives, usually with very little or no dialogue, specifically for their relative narrative simplicity - something reflected in my single-image horror concepts which I explored over the summer and posted to my Instagram.

To put it plainly, something was bothering me about the Catalyst I had previously outlined and I realised while speaking to Tiffany that it was the over-complexity of my current storyline, for apparently shallow reasons. I had included the secondary characters just to see them die, and outside of that they had no real purpose.


As a result, I have been contemplating storylines with characters in complete or near-complete isolation and wondered if this was a better direction for my Detective. On the one hand some of the realism of having outside connections may fade and, without others, my only real option for a twist-level catalyst would be to go back to killing the dog (which I really don't want to do) - but on the other it would be far more interesting. Additionally, it would add in a classic storytelling element called the Unreliable Narrator, which I could use to lead readers/viewers to wonder whether the Detective's accounts on the situation can be trusted and raise the question of when exactly did she go mad?

This kind of overhanging doubt would help contribute to my horror theme, and cashes very neatly into the call for the uncanny that I'm after. This will come in handy when I turn up the heat into more radically confusing events, where it will maintain the veil of mystery through doubts about the character's sanity.

I will have to look into 'solitude' as a genre theme to substantiate these ideas.




The Uncanny Hound:

While we were discussing it, I imagined abruptly a scene where something unmistakeably weird happens with the dog as one of the more severe uncanny cases. I'm thinking definitely not fatal, but just odd. In my minds eye I'm seeing a close up polaroid shot that the protagonist takes of this dog as it stares into space, transfixed with an uncanny expression, the other one cowering underneath it. Not particularly aggressive, just absolutely stock still (hardly breathing) and staring (maybe cross eyed) with an open maw into space. And I think it ought to be insinuated or documented that the dog does not return to normal for some time, leaving the character in unbearable existential turmoil as the tension continues into the night.

I'm not sure just yet the positioning of this event in the story, but I think it should come in the last third somewhere as it is a natural escalation to the obsession. This event would bring the uncanny into the previously 'safe' home of the protagonist and make it very personal, completely undeniable, but also maintaining reasonable doubt from an outsider's perspective that she might still be imagining it all - accelerating the madness.


I'll spend some time thinking about story implications and how I might translate such a moment into legible, self-explanatory story beats.




- R Cipolletta