A kind-of-list about experimental writing

Readers of creative writing and the writers of all genres want to read/tell a story, a story that takes in its audience as it did its creator. But experimental writing isn’t always as easily defined as its popular and traditional compeer. As a writer naturally drawn to telling the non-traditional non-linear tale, I needed to think about what impact my narratives might have on my readers. For fun and conciseness I attempted an Effectual and Demur list about experimental forms writing and the challenges of reading experimentally.

Effectual

  • Narrative play (infinite control of information; less textual ‘padding’ to disguise it)
  • Telling a story as it would happen (event, time passes, lesson later realized)
  • Malleability with grammar (largely punctuation, the odd lowercased proper noun (i.e. god))
  • Freedom to traverse time/space/tone (A bit like Junto Diaz short stories)
  • Use of multiple forms/ authorial freedom (flash-fiction, poetry, drama, definition)
  • An array of characters (Think: House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros)
  • Elusive setting (yes, I do mean E-lusive)
  • Succinct surprises
  • Dual narrators offering the story from a somewhat unbiased perspective (The Lover’s Dictionary felt this way to me, at times)

Demur

  •  Reader dislocation (setting, time, tone, unreliable narrator?)
  • Covering too much fictional time in a small space
  • Can Flash-fiction sustain a novelette?
  • Grammatical choices off-putting/ misunderstood?
  • Who’s your audience?
  • What’s your genre?
  • How would you market it?
  • Should experimental writing be an earned art? (Think: The Lover’s Dictionary, David Levithan and Nox, Anne Carson)

A broad list and by no means the extent of my thoughts on writing experimentally. But for the sake of space I’ll leave you with that. I would love to hear from other writers; have a bit of a collaboration. So please do share your genius below. To see samples of my experimental work, or to get a fuller idea of what I’m referencing in the above lists: read me.

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