Writing strategies

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Writing Stories Which Break the Rules

Discuss ways in which writers can tell stories that go against conventions and selling-points, and would likely struggle to find an audience. It is wonderful to think outside the box and try something new. It can be rewarding and even push the artform forward with innovation. Sometimes as writers we want to break the rules and disregard important aspects to character, plot, genre, dialogue, etc. that not only work, but are usually the foundation to good writing. We may be used to writing for an audience, but this time want to try something crazy and write a screenplay for a film when we have no idea who would watch it. How can we stay true to our artistic vision knowing we are doing everything all wrong? What are the benefits?

  • It can be argued that any and every text to receive any sort of canonical status has done so by strategically breaking previously established conventions. This almost feels too big to tackle. – ProtoCanon 8 years ago
  • In my opinion the simplest way I can think of to write unconventionally is to take a common story and add your own little adjustments. You could do a backwards version of the tale or take one or a few particular elements of the story and try to get your imagination to work on that. For instance, generally, one would expect the protagonist of a fairy tale to find true love or something of the sort, but what if that character had absolutely no interest in romance. What if that character enjoys solitude? With the imagination sky's the limit. – RadosianStar 8 years ago
  • I feel like if you were to write a story where there is no change, where the character's status is stagnant that could be a way to tackle this idea that breaks the rules. A wonderful reference to this style is Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep. It tells a harrowing deeply meaningful story in a style that is neither linear nor follows the conventions of stereotypical story telling. Hope that helps in your search to find how to 'break the rules'! – Gntmeda 7 years ago
  • Another way I've seen writers break the rules is to write an unlikable lead, or at least one who the majority of people struggle to sympathize with. Scarlett O'Hara comes to mind because she's so incredibly spoiled. Okonkwo from Things Fall Apart is another favorite of mine; he's considered a hero in his society, but he often acts like someone you wouldn't want to look up to. Fairytales written in POVs like that of Cinderella's stepsisters or the Big Bad Wolf come to mind as well. I would devote an entire section as to why this works, and perhaps why unlikable leads may have become accepted conventions. – Stephanie M. 7 years ago