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5 Examples of Artistic License

Artistic license is the practice of breaking rules in order to produce a valuable creative work. Art is not a systematic process of following the rules and requires significant flexibility, imagination and risk taking. The following are illustrative examples of artistic license.


A writer who breaks the rules of grammar or uses a word the wrong way in order to create an effect. Language changes with time as people decide the rules are too constrictive and need to change. It is often creative works such as music, literature and films that lead the way.


Using language and visualizations that differ from concrete reality. For example, a painter who captures how a beach feels at a point in time as opposed to how it physically would look to a camera.


Leaving things out such as a biographical film that leaves out events and characteristics of an individual. This may be done to make the film more entertaining or to focus on some particular aspect of things. In this case, omission is also necessary because a life is rather longer than a film.


Changing facts to make a story more interesting such as a film based on historical events that makes it appear that several significant developments occurred in the same day when in fact they spanned several years. Stories aren't dry recounts of events and often differ from reality.

Suspension of Disbelief

A creative work that requires the audience or reader to believe the unbelievable. Audiences commonly suspend critical judgement in order to enjoy a film. This is one reason that critics and audiences often disagree. If you look at a film too critically it is hard to use your imagination to see its true value. That being said, suspension of disbelief can only go so far as audiences also prefer stories that are somewhat grounded in reality.


The term artistic license is commonly used sarcastically to refer to unintentional mistakes in a creative work such as elements of a story that are inconsistent.
Overview: Artistic License
The practice of breaking rules in order to produce a valuable creative work.
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