Asemic writing really intrigues me. “Asemic” means without semantic content, as in artful scribbles that resemble writing in superficial ways but do not contain lexical meaning. Instead, it possesses a magical, mystical quality. Not all emotion can be conveyed in words, and asemic writing attempts to fill in this gap.
I’ve always wanted a reason to use it in my stories…and maybe I’ve stumbled across a way to use it in Strange Spark. The characters in the novel are animals, beings that don’t think in words like humans do. Instead, animals think and communicate in emotion, sensation, instinct, genetic memory, color, and images. My main character is a former fighting dog. Periodically she experiences flash backs to a traumatic past. I’d like to use asemic writing in her flash backs as a way to convey her overwhelming, scary emotions.
I like strategic use of “stream of consciousness” writing and other techniques that really get inside the characters’ heads. But I worry that by using asemic writing in Strange Spark, I risk making the novel seem too experimental or just plain weird. I know of a few painters and visual artists who use asemic writing in their works, but I’ve never heard of it being used in a novel.
What do you think? Is asemic writing a technique that’s best left to visual artists or would it be acceptable to use it at key points in a novel?