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First person narrative in That Eye, the Sky 6: The bad event

The bad event

Introduction

Finally, we come to the bad event. Looking back, you’ll see how we’ve been building to this moment all along—although now that we are here, we don’t see the event itself, only the aftermath.

Dad's ute is so small. I look inside. The seats are all back and forward and up and over everywhere. Everything inside is sticky. It's blood – I'm not stupid. I go round the side to where the open tray is. A bale of hay has come loose and spilt itself all over. There's his big tool box still there, and on it, the big rag that he wipes his hands on. It used to be a pair of my pyjama bottoms until the bum came out. I pick it up. It smells of turps and oil and grease. It smells of my Dad. A long way away there is a siren. That will be the police. It's a long way for them to come. I suppose they will look at the skid marks and those trees over there that are all flat and sprinkled with glass.

Mr and Mr Mann are arguing about how they'll tow the ute. I stand here waiting. The sky blinks down at me.

That Eye, the SkyTim WintonSource

Reading through this passage, you’ll see many techniques we’ve touched on already:

  • Start with a small detail to focus attention.
  • Establish physical details to set the scene.
  • Use first-person commentary to highlight the emotional meaning of certain details.
  • Widen the view and incorporate the landscape.
  • Reincorporate a strong metaphor established earlier.

You’ll need

  • A location for your bad event
  • An idea of what happened so you can describe the aftermath
  • Multiple physical details about the scene
  • Some details that link your narrator and victim, and have emotional weight
  • Some bystanders
  • The strong metaphor you created back in Lesson 3, where your narrator was sensing the environment while they were meant to be doing something else.

Like what you see?