Monday, September 5, 2011

The Four Basic Writing Stances : From the Roof

From the Roof.  Source

From the Roof (or Vom Dach in German) is an intimidating stance that is achieved by holding the sword overhead, at a 45 degree angle from the ground.  An alternate version of this has the swordsman hold it over one shoulder, since some armours didn’t allow the arms to raise so high.

By holding the sword over your head, you gain a lot of power with your strikes.  However, it can slow both your parries and attacks because of the momentum you need to generate in order to bring the blade down.  The position, however, allows easy transition into the other three stances with a shift of the sword and moving of the feet.

In writing, From the Roof is a versatile but somewhat disordered stance.  Though it can certainly act as a stance of its own, I think it often leaks into my writing along with the others.  This stance is also, like the Fool, kind of a combination between the Ox and the Plough.  With From the Roof, you start out either with an outline or without, depending on how good you know your story.  Then, if you get to a point where you struggle, you swap to the other style.  Thus, you start out with Ox, then you get to a point where you need some structure, then you swap over to Plough.

This stance shares a lot of advantages and disadvantages with the Fool, but optimises all the areas.  However, the trick lies in knowing when to switch.  If you swap between the styles too often, or not often enough, then you get all the problems from the first two.

From the Roof is very confusing, and can be pretty useless if you’re good with only Ox or Plough.  Also, you’re outline will never be as clear as it could be if you do it throughout the entire story.  For both the Fool and From the Roof, you need to know what you’re doing, and more importantly, you have to need it.  For most people, just outlining or just winging it is best.


  1. This sounds like my approach, switching between styles as my mood (and inspiration) dictates.