At 2/1/10 02:02 AM, aviewaskewed wrote:
I can think of at least one instance where this doesn't really work out, that being Grant Morrison's "Animal Man" in which Morrison tells the story of a mostly forgotten DC hero named Buddy Baker who has the ability to copy the powers of any member of the animal kingdom. It's a series of mad ideas that encompasses many themes and ideas and ends with Buddy having a meeting/confrontation with Morrison over what the author has done to him over the past year or two of stories (including the death of Buddy's family) and Morrison admitting he felt he did a bad job as "God" of Buddy's world. It's pretty fascinating, and whether you think it "works" or it doesn't, it's far from simply being a "gimmick".
I was just pointing out that people shouldn't be discouraged from experimentation, and that in writing and fiction there really are no hard and fast rules in terms of content, there's only the rules outside agents, or audiences, may thrust upon the author.
Well, yes, you do raise some good points. Of course we wouldn't have half the literary masterpieces we do today without a bit of rule bending and a little experimentation. The instance you described sounds like it's been approached in a well thought out, innovative way, as opposed to actually, physically injecting yourself into a story for the sake of being a character. The 'fourth wall', as it's called, can be a very powerful item in a story, as it's up to the writer to 'break the fourth wall' and choose at which point to raise the reader's awareness of the text they're reading.
Personally, I like to occasionally address the reader in an offhand manner that alludes to, but never grounds itself in second person point of view. It can be effective, or it can be annoying and unnatural. Most of the time it comes down to reader preference. However, as far as the scientific term "experiment" goes, you would expect a writer to have a basic understanding of the particular devices in which they're experimenting with, in addition to an exceptional grasp of the written word. That way, they're better positioned to read the results of their experiment as success or failure, to understand what they did and why. Of course, then there's the instance of serendipity, whereby any sort of experimentation can lead to pleasant and unexpected results.
Of course, I think experimentation is vital in the progression of literature, and indeed, in one's own skills. However, I also think that experimentation should be motivated by the desire to produce innovation, as opposed to the same old tried and failed systems that crop up again and again.
On another note, the concept of the author as a character reminds me of the first 'Barry Trotter' parody, wherein the book turns out to be a film, which turns out to be a book written by the main character.
I studied a little on narration last year, and I think the concept of the author as a character to be quite an interesting one. Especially considering it's not nearly the first thing a writer thinks of when starting a story. Characters, plot, setting, point of view, and all that, but it's really the author's narrating character that can make or break a story. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" is a prime example of a narrator that's evidently full of character. Of course, the narration style depends on what sort of story you want to tell, but if you put that thought process in, even if your narrator is a neutral party in your story, that decision should still come across in your writing. It's a major part of the mood and style of your stories, I know I certainly lack the afterthought for the narrating character in my stories that'd really ramp my writing up a notch. I just thought it'd be an interesting muse to share.