Let's Talk About Form
Updated: Jan 2, 2021
Something that I've always loved seeing in fiction is experimentation. I love it when an author takes an unconventional approach to tell their story. This can be a powerful tool to help your story come across in a way that reaches beyond the words. For the critical essay I wrote during grad school, I wrote a paper exploring how three different science fiction authors used form to their advantage. I'd like to take the time to delve into that a little more here with you guys. This will be the first post in a series of posts about using form to your advantage. Of course, my examples will be science fiction; however, this doesn't mean that they can't apply to your genre.
To get started, let's talk about what I mean by "form." Form, in this case, refers to the structure of your narrative piece. When you think of the form of a story, you are probably thinking about a traditional narrative format. That form uses paragraphs and dialogue tags to tell the story. While that's still a wonderful way to tell a story, there are other ways you can write a story that can help redefine and challenge what constitutes a story. What am I talking about here? Have you ever seen a story that was written in the form of a series of letters or even instant messages? That is an example of an author playing with form. They are breaking narrative conventions and create a new hybrid writing form to create their story.
In these next few blog posts, I'll go in-depth and show you how authors are using form to use this concept to their advantage, and then, I'll wrap up with some ideas on how you can use these techniques for your own writing.