One would imagine that, when sparring with the blank page, the majority of writers have their own unique modus operandi. But while the approach to penning their respective works may be different, some writers might have predetermined rules they follow if they’re striving to capture the essence of a certain literary movement, i.e. some writers will set out to write postmodern literature and thus work within the confines (or lack-thereof) of the genre, while others will write what they write and find their work categorised by the critics and the wider literati (which is how you imagine most tags are ascribed, unless there’s a declarative note at the beginning of an artist’s work).
The fact is, literary movements are known for sharing common themes, subjects, and style, and so there are undoubtedly writers who have and do attempt to attach themselves to such a movement.
The Dogma20 literary manifesto, which I’ve just been reading, seeks to appeal to writers who wish to touch on similar themes, reject certain ideas, and experiment stylistically; to find common ground in their literary creations and set in motion a genuine 21st century literary movement.
Within the manifesto are nine “commandments” writers should consider should they want their work to fall into the ‘Dogma20’ genre:
- Do not set out solely to entertain the reader; place meaning above entertainment
- Always write protagonists who are seeking truth
- Do not have concern for the reader’s potential ignorance, but don’t be absurdly esoteric
- Imbue literature with philosophy
- Avoid political writing; be allegorical
- Contemplate human nature and existence through character dialogue
- Absolutely reject intersectionality
- Use different mediums to influence the writing process
- Make praxeological considerations
Reading the manifesto in full makes these “rules” clearer (#9 in particular — has praxeology ever been applied to fiction?). But while the text features the so-called commandments above, the wording isn’t so fixed that it would greatly restrict authors in their work; it merely encourages consideration of some aspects of the manifesto, and adherence to others.
What was the last significant literary movement? I’ll have to look that up. But I’ll definitely be exploring Dogma20 in my future short and long fiction.