When we take a book and sit down to read, we will be having certain preoccupied notions and general expectations about the book. For instance, if you are reading romance fiction, you will unconsciously expect a happily ever after ending. Or you will be expecting the book to be divided into chapters and paragraphs.
We might have often heard people saying one should not expect anything in life. But human beings are ambitious. They always expect and get disappointed when they do not get the desired output. Even while reading a book, we tend to expect something from it and often feel disappointed when it does not match that expectation.
Like our life, certain books are set to break all the norms and conventions. They may break the genre norm or may differ in the way they are presented. Such literature is known as experimental as they defy all the general standards and rules.
How do experimental novels bend the norms?
When it comes to fiction, we may expect certain conventions like a character that is good and for whom we can root. We may look for a story with a plot and a proper structure with a clear beginning and end. We also expect a good narrative cycle that will pull the readers into the world of fiction. We also prefer the language to follow some conventions like syntax rules, punctuation, and margin. But experimental fiction defies one or many of these expected notions.
In experimental fiction, most of the characters may be portrayed in negative shades and the readers may not even find a single character with whom they can connect.
Also, instead of following a fixed plotline, the writer may just digress from the plot and continue with their rambling, making the story incoherent.
Another feature of a novel or fiction is that it will immerse us into the fictional world of its protagonist. But in an experimental novel, you won’t be able to do it. If you are getting pulled into the story, the writer may address you directly, reminding you that you are just a reader.
The scope of innovation is not limited to the plot in an experimental novel. The writer may even play with the syntax, altering the meaning in numerous ways. You may even encounter blank pages or texts that are written in different styles and fonts.
For instance, the novel Monster by Walter Dean Myers is written in screenplay format. In the novel, the protagonist who is arrested for a murder case wants to become a filmmaker. Therefore the entire novel is written in screenplay format. As the story movies forward, Steve starts to write his experience in screenplay format, which makes it difficult to distinguish facts from fiction.
If you want to take a break from the norms and want to challenge yourself, then pull one of the experimental novels and break the conventions.