With the advent of digital and self publishing, novelist seem to have a rare opportunity to 'break' longstanding, traditional writing formats and create 'new' styles.

Right off I can hear you thinking, 'What? Why would anyone want to change the way novels are formatted?' My answer is, 'why not?'

For example; traditional art forms such as painting and sculpture have undergone major upheavals and reinventions. Technical advances and changes in attitudes involving religion and philosophy have lead to art being monumental works strictly for consumption by Rulers of Empire to graphic designs that end up in the trash after consuming a candy bar!

How 'Art' is made can be achieved in a multitude of creative processes which often test the viewer's belief as to whether it's actually art or not? Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Filmmaking even Music have undergone similar transformations from established dogmatic styles to new and innovative ones 'unthinkable' and considered 'subversive' at the time of their inceptions.

For centuries 'Figurative' painting and sculpture were considered high art and strict methods of painting had to be adhered to by artists to be considered 'legitimate'. Then came the Camera which could make portraits in an instant and far more accurately than most painters could hope to manage! With that invention and the scientific theories concerning how light performed, artists took a new track for making painting and 'Impressionism' was born. Painters realized that on their canvases were only 'lines and shapes' so they concentrated on how to best capture their 'impression' of how color looked within a scene.

By taking that revolutionary turn, Painters like Monet, Manet and Sagat made works which smashed the old traditions and set artists on the path leading to the monumental changes to come in the then pending 20th Century. Of course, such change did not sit well with the 'traditionalists' still painting the same scenes of Greek and Roman 'Golden Age' art which had been done for nearly 200 years prior. Imagine those same critics who panned Monet's famous painting "Water Lillies" if they could have seen any of Abstract Expressionist Painter Jackson Pollock's famous 'Drip Paintings'!

So flash forward to 2015 when we have blogs, PDF's, Wordpress, Facebook, and the ability to publish novels with or without an established publisher! With the near limitless freedom to publish or not we possess, will novel writers get their version of 'Jazz', 'Abstract Expressionism' or 'Minimalism' movements? Can an engaging novel be written outside of traditional formatting? Or are writers so restricted by formatting the possibility of changing the format to something else be accomplished?

Now there will be the immediate naysayers who uphold that the 'traditions are set in stone' and like the ancient Pillars of Hercules cannot be moved...except for them having been 'moved' when the Mediterranean Basin flooded once more back in the dim times.... Granted, there's only so much leeway with the English language in the written form. That is if you are a religious stickler for grammar, tense, etc. Albeit very important items to keep a standard, but then again 'standards do change'.

English has gone numerous evolutions since the Middle-Ages and it's guaranteed if you were in a room with your English counterpart from 1066, unless you were an Old-English Scholar there'd be a major communication breakdown! The written format for English has undergone numerous evolutions including the one which separated it into 'English-English' and 'American-English'. Now, add the Internet and a whole new dynamic takes place.

Though a 'properly formatted', grammatically and tense correct written piece submitted online would be perfect to the eyes of the English Scholar, most reading on the 'Net just want to get the 'point' and quickly move on. Funny thing about that is, long as the context of the online written piece is made clear enough to the reader only the 'grammar police' seem to care.

That said, it's appalling reading some writers posts and book excerpts because the 'standard' for spelling and basic English word structure has been 'set in stone'. Yet, that standard is changing. So when does that 'change' lead to conscious and well executed choice by writers? We have 'Free Form' Jazz, painting, 'found objects sculpture' and for a time there was 'found music creation' in the form of sampling of music before the record Co.'s cracked down on DJ's for royalties. When do we get 'free form Novel Writing' and how long will it take before being accepted as the 'new standard'?

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