Before I started seriously engaging in the authoring world I lacked knowledge about breaking the fourth wall. Not to say I used it all the time, but if I’m being honest I included such practice in some of my writing. This is one dramatic way in which blogging and writing fiction differ. One is indisputably okay and somewhat encourages the breaking down of the wall, while the other medium has a more arguable stance on whether it is appropriate to write in such a way for the genre. Please join me as I delve into the thoughts of Jeff Gerke according to the sixteenth chapter of his handbook, The Irresistible Novel.
Breaking the Fourth Wall
To break the fourth wall means to allow your characters to speak directly to your reader. This term is a theater allusion referring to the setup of a stage. Breaking the fourth wall in theater occurs when the actors speak directly to the audience.
Although the breaking of the fourth wall does occur in fiction over time it has come to be an accepted rule in the writing industry that an author should not breach this imaginary boundary by which a character speaks to the reader.
Those who disagree with the statement above believe that by forsaking the rule they are allowing deep engagement between characters and readers to occur. After all, who isn’t captivated by a character who speaks directly to you? They also may believe that by including the breaking of the fourth wall that their story is given an element of excitement as this is not often done in contemporary writing.
If an author prescribes to the rule in question they often believe that a good novel is one where a reader forgets that they are reading a story and feel as though they are living it. The reason they feel this way is often because when the fourth wall is broken it shakes the reader and reminds them that they are simply a bystander in a story.
Gerke believes that this rule is and always will be experimental. In his opinion, it depends on your story and the effect that breaking the fourth wall has on it.
In my opinion, it’s all about the point of view in your story. Certain perspectives lend themselves better to breaking this rule than others. Before deciding to use such disputable writing in your novel consider the effect it may have on the pace and overall effectiveness of moving your plot along. I would not say to never use it, but I would advise to do so sparingly.
My Current Project…
I’ve chosen not to break this wall in my first book. The reason I have decided this is based on my multiple perspective POV. According to my genre and POV it doesn’t fit and would really destroy the pace and effectiveness of my novel.