1. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    A confused narrative

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by spklvr, Jan 26, 2012.

    I’m writing a short-story at the moment, about a man who has gone insane after years of abusing various drugs in large quantities, and is now taking advice from a horse living in his koi pond. I have written the first draft, but I realize I’m not happy with the narrative. He sounds too clear-headed. I like it that way for the first part of the story, while he still has some shred of sense and intelligence, and describes completely unbelievable events matter-of-factly. But as the story progresses and he loses it more and more, it just starts sounding weird.

    I was wondering if anyone knew of any novels or short-stories with the type of narrative I’m writing, so that I can see what I think works and not, because I don’t think I’ve ever read something like it. Maybe American Psycho, but I didn’t like that book (don’t hate me for it, I just think I’m too young to understand it or something like that). Or if you have some general advice for creating a messed up and confused narrative I’d appreciate that.
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe he should sound clear-headed. He's insane, but he probably thinks he's completely lucid. As he loses it more and more, of course it sounds weird to sane readers, but his narrative may make perfect sense to him.

    So maybe, this isn't really a problem.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Read Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It's written from the perspective of a schizophrenic in the ward.
     
  4. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    Well, I really like Fight Club, because the MC doesn't know he's losing it. That sounds up your story's alley...
     
  5. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    There is a late author named Kurt Vonnegut and I've read a book of his called 'Hocus Pocus'

    The premise of the story is that a crazy man wrote the manuscript on every scrap piece of paper he could find. Business cards, torn paper bags, napkins, etc. and after he died somebody found his scribbles which were numbered in chronological order and had them printed into a book. The story starts off normal, but gets more and more bizarre the further you read.

    Before you go out and buy this book let me tell you that I found it semi-enjoyable and would rate it 6.5 out of 10.
     
  6. Skykitty
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    Skykitty New Member

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    Hi (this is my first post on this board so please forgive my newbie-ness)

    It reminds me of a Stephen King short story I read years ago, it's in his Nightmares and Dreamscapes anthology.

    It's about a man who helps to spread a drug to the whole world which he initialy believed would bring an end to violence, but too late discovers it causes dementia and eventual death. It's written in the form of a letter of journal entry of this man, who is the last survivor and now suffering from advancing dementia.

    I particularly remember it from a huge number of Stephnen King short stories I've read over the years, so it must have had something going for it.
     
  7. dasylum
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    dasylum Member

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    If the character is truly insane, he wouldn't notice. So it's alright to not change it on that part. But, if he's becoming more manic, you could play with sentence length and structure. Shorter sentences, more manic. etc.
     
  8. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Manic people actually feel an irresistible pressure to speak, so their sentences tend to be very long, with lots of content, grandiose thinking, they are very difficult to interrupt, and they find it difficult to stay on the topic so their train of thought goes off on tangents a lot.
     
  9. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Pick up American Psycho again and just read the MC's 'music reviews' on Genesis and Whitney Houston. They start out quite normal, but become increasingly bizarre further on.
     
  10. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is impossible to just "come up" with "insane" narrative. I believe that you must study the real speech of a "crazy" person (and there are many varieties of "crazy" all of which are consistent throughout)
     
  11. Inspired writer
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    Inspired writer Member

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    I didn't realise insanity could be a result of narcotics, unless you're talking about LSD of course. If so, you may want to find a bio of Jim Morrison from the Doors. He was rumoured to be dancing on stage with imaginary Indians. Possibly a great source for research. lol.
    P.s. where did you get your avatar? I'm a huge fan of Jenson Ackles.
     
  12. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I made it myself. Took a screen shot from an episode and did some cutting and resizing. Not complicated.

    And yes, you can go crazy from drugs. Up until recently, both my parents worked at a rehab facility, my father as a counselor and my mother as a nurse. I have grown up around drug addicts, so I have a fairly vast knowledge of drugs and their effects on long term users. I knew one man who was speaking to hamburgers the few months before he died because his brain was just destroyed.

    And to Jazzabel, because of that I also have a very good idea of how his voice should sound, though to be honest I am taking some artistic liberties. It’s the execution part that is the problem.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i can attest to the fact that taking prescription meds can drive you nuts and make you see weird things...

    i once took something for anxiety at the same time i was taking something else and they reacted so badly in combination, that i was seeing 'a line' down the middle of everything... it was the scariest thing i've ever experienced... had to drive myself to the ER, afraid i'd crash, the whole way... there they shot me full of a serious trank to put me out till it wore off...
     
  14. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    God.

    I was prescribed something for stomach pain that messed me up. I was sitting on a park bench and kept thinking I heard children laughing behind me, but when I turned around there was nobody there. Then, driving home, I had a total hallucination where reality fell away and I was in a cage at a human zoo with giraffes looking at me. Nearly crashed. I didn't even know what was going on; just thought I was going mad.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    scarey as hell, isn't it?

    another episode i'd nearly forgotten about [for good reason!] is the time i was pregnant with my first of 7 and the damn doctor who only saw me on our first visit when he told us how much he'd charge for my 'care' and delivery had his nurses prescribe first something for nausea [i had 24/7 'morning sickness'] and then something to keep me awake during the day, since the first one made me sleepy all the time... needless to say, the combo put me on a full-time roller coaster and i ended up not being able to sit still for more than 30 seconds, totally jittery all day and feeling crazier 'n the proverbial bedbug [don't know why they're supposed to be crazy!], and totally zonked at night...

    fortunately, we had to move when hubby lost his second or third job of a long succession and when the new doctor [my parents' incredibly kind/good ukranian one] saw what i'd been taking, he tossed them in the garbage bin in a rage and said i'd gotten to him just in time, as another month on them would've seen me in a padded room for the rest of my life, due to irreversible brain damage!... which again proves that the wrong meds can make a person clinically insane [and can possibly partially explain my weirdness? ;) ]

    on the bright side, as writers it sure gives us invaluable first hand insight into what people with real mental illness go through!
     

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