I discovered a lipogrammatic novel named “Ella Minnow Pea”, which I found really fascinating. It really started with me googling ‘The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog’ because I was reminded of this sentence that contained all letters of the English alphabet – a ‘pangram’.
A Lipogram is a bit of an opposite of a pangram – it is a sentence that is constrained to be formed without the use of at least 1 letter. The novel basically plays on this and progressively has letters dropped out of the English alphabet as part of the story line and thus becomes increasingly constrained, hard to read but brings out the point in the story.
More generally, the concept here is about telling stories under certain constrained conditions. Not just constrain of having to write in words; but also that of the perspective of the people in place, not an all-knowing narrator. Being someone who’s always been really fascinated by manner in which stories are told, this is interesting. And this is the same reason The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon; and Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes were such beautiful books for me.
As we learn to tell and write our stories, it is important to be able to recognise the constraints ourselves and the readers are subject to and to be able to bring that key message across.
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