Creative Writing Strategy â€“ â€˜Defamiliarizationâ€™
Response to request on creative writing Tutor: For Alex
â€˜Defamiliarizationâ€™ is a term first used by Victor Shklovsky, which essentially means to view an object and unravel its layers and uses. I.e. look at the clouds as a playground for angels/a bearer of tears or the heaven and earth divide opposed to a simple cloud to warn us a bad day is on its way. The first two examples I have given are also personification/metaphorical; however seeing an object in a totally different light is â€˜defamiliarizationâ€™.
As previously mentioned in the article ‘Creative Poetry’, Art and creative writing are two apples that have fallen from the same flamboyant tree. There is a consensus in the writing world that â€˜defamiliarizingâ€™ objects in the world around you, helps you develop a writerâ€™s way of thinking, describing and consequently an author’s way of writing.
Undoubtedly, the main reason for â€˜defamiliarizingâ€™ objects is to gain an appreciation for your environment – to see and appreciate what others donâ€™t. By seeing and appreciating what others donâ€™t makes you â€˜creativeâ€™, perhaps even â€˜originalâ€™, but more importantly makes your readers say, â€œI never looked at it that way before.â€
â€˜Flashes of the Genuineâ€™
To a reader there is nothing more beautiful than when you read a sentence that describes something in a way never explored. I will go back to my previous sentence regarding the clouds being â€˜the bearer of tearsâ€™. In my opinion (and your entitled to yours) I would class this statement a â€˜flash of the genuineâ€™ perhaps even poetic. I have taken an everyday object, â€˜defamiliarizedâ€™ it and given it a new purpose, perhaps even a glint of a personality â€“ to me, thatâ€™s the art of writing.
Defamiliarization and Poetry
â€˜Defamiliarizationâ€™ and Poetry are inextricably linked together. And by the very nature of â€˜defamiliarizingâ€™ an object youâ€™re forced to become poetic. So if you are writing poetry try it out. Alternatively, if you are writing a novel I would advise that you use â€˜defamiliarizationâ€™ sparingly or perhaps even as a treat now and again. After all, you donâ€™t want to lose your reader in a metaphorical world.
Defamiliarization and Metaphors
Another weapon in a writerâ€™s arsenal is a metaphor. A Metaphor is a literary figure of speech for comparative, visual or associative purposes (a topic for another article). The very nature of a metaphor (saying something is something else) is reflective of the â€˜defamiliarizationâ€™ approach. The two are uncannily similar in certain ways.
Alex requested this topic via the â€˜writing tutorâ€™ contact form on the home page and I hope this will not only help him understand â€˜defamiliarizationâ€™ but also the rest of you readers out there. As always let me know how you get on using the â€˜defamiliarizationâ€™ approach in your creative writing.