Case Study: Writing Unreliable Narrator, Will Martin



Publication Details

McKinnon, C. "Case Study: Writing Unreliable Narrator, Will Martin." Narrative 22 .3 (2014): 395-416.


This paper analyzes the imaginative journey taken when creating an unreliable narrator for my novella, "Will Martin" (2011). It charts the interplay between the theoretical and historical research and the writing of several drafts. "Will Martin" is based on the eighteenth-century sailing trip taken by explorers Matthew Flinders, George Bass, and Bass's servant, William Martin, along the south coast of New South Wales, Australia, in the Tom Thumb. Colonial boat-builder Daniel Paine writes in his journal that "the Boat not being above twelve feet long [was] a small Boat to Coast in" (39). Shortly after setting off, the explorers discover their water is contaminated. They have great difficulty landing their boat and struggle to find fresh drinking water. On the fourth day, thirsty and suffering from sunburn, they trade goods with two Koori men. Later, these two Kooris guide them to a stream (Flinders names it Canoe Rivulet) near Lake Illawarra. There they meet with local Kooris, but after filling their water barrel, the Europeans become frightened and retreat, although not without firing off a shot.

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