Breaking the fourth wall

Breaking the fourth wall is when a story or a film takes the moment to acknowledge the audience, perhaps even speaking to us or letting us know that they know they are in a story. 

This can be an effective ingredient in making your word strange or weird and can really surprise your reader when used effectively!

In Carmen Maria Machado’s story The Husband Stitch, she writes down some rules for readers to follow while reading that are interspersed with the main story:

Extract from The Husband Stitch - Carmen Maria Machado .pdf

Exercise #8:

  1. Write down five rules for the readers of your work! You might tell them the voice they should read in, or instructions for something they should do while reading or afterwards.
  2. Next, write down three warnings you would give to the readers of your work. You might tell them that the story is scary and if they have a weak heart they shouldn’t read it. 

If you need a hand, start by writing “Warning! This story may contain …” and see what comes out!