Exactly What It Says on the Tin. A literary trope
in which the text is arranged on the page in strange ways, including but not limited to: right-to-left (in Western works), bottom-to-top, reversed, upside-down etc. It can also make use of colours
, multiple fonts
typographical tricks of this nature.
It can be done for a variety
. A popular one
is to represent a character's mental state, e.g.
using cramped text to symbolize claustrophobia or feeling "trapped".
Other writers may use it to visually represent the action being described in the text.
The technical name for this is ergodic literature
, from the Greek ergon
, meaning "work", and hodos
, meaning "path" - that is, formatting in which a great deal of work is required on the part of the reader to find a "path" through the text.
A subtrope of Painting the Fourth Wall
. Sometimes used in Meta Fiction
and Scrapbook Stories
. See also Footnote Fever
(with which this sometimes overlaps), Censor Box
, Bold Inflation
, Color-Coded for Your Convenience
and Page Turn Surprise
When adding examples, please be descriptive.
- Whenever someone writes fanfic about a movie character that, ah, talks all . . . funny, like Heath Ledger's Joker, this, er, winds up happening. aND don'T EvEn MentIon dElIrIUm.
- Homestuck is all about this. Every character has their own unique typing style that fits their personality (the humans doing subtle things like dropping initial caps or using different emoticons, and the trolls favouring Leet Lingo), certain Arc Words are written in specific (occasionally flashing) colours or with an animated gif replacing one of the letters, and at one point a character doing something around the back of the narrator speaks to the reader through Alt Text. The ==> command that indicates a new page is even replaced with ======> for the troll arc, to reflect the change from the four main characters to the twelve main characters (count the bars).