How Fiction Works

How Fiction Works In the tradition of E M Forster s Aspects of the Novel and Milan Kundera s The Art of the Novel How Fiction Works is a scintillating study of the magic of fiction an analysis of its main elements and

  • Title: How Fiction Works
  • Author: JamesWood
  • ISBN: 9780374173401
  • Page: 322
  • Format: Paperback
  • In the tradition of E M Forster s Aspects of the Novel and Milan Kundera s The Art of the Novel, How Fiction Works is a scintillating study of the magic of fiction an analysis of its main elements and a celebration of its lasting power Here one of the most prominent and stylish critics of our time looks into the machinery of storytelling to ask some fundamental questioIn the tradition of E M Forster s Aspects of the Novel and Milan Kundera s The Art of the Novel, How Fiction Works is a scintillating study of the magic of fiction an analysis of its main elements and a celebration of its lasting power Here one of the most prominent and stylish critics of our time looks into the machinery of storytelling to ask some fundamental questions What do we mean when we say we know a fictional character What constitutes a telling detail When is a metaphor successful Is Realism realistic Why do some literary conventions become dated while others stay fresh James Wood ranges widely, from Homer to Make Way for Ducklings, from the Bible to John le Carr , and his book is both a study of the techniques of fiction making and an alternative history of the novel Playful and profound, How Fiction Works will be enlightening to writers, readers, and anyone else interested in what happens on the page.

    How Fiction Works James Wood How Fiction Works James Wood on FREE shipping on qualifying offers In the tradition of E M Forster s Aspects of the Novel and Milan Kundera s The Fiction Literary fiction is a term used in the book trade to distinguish fiction that is regarded as having literary merit, from most commercial or genre fiction. List of military science fiction works and authors This is a list of works in the military science fiction subgenre of science fiction, sorted by the creator s surname or, in case of film and television, the title. How Fiction Works There are a lot of books out there about how not to write badly but there are very few about how to write well James Wood s How Fiction Works is one of the best. notable works of fiction in The Washington Post This multitiered examination of fate presents four parallel versions of Archie Ferguson, who shares aspects of Auster s life The Accomplished Guest By Ann Beattie Influential Early Works of Apocalyptic Fiction Listverse influential Early Works of Apocalyptic Fiction influential Early Works of Apocalyptic Fiction Earlier this year, List Universe published a fine list Fiction Bartleby Bartleby provides the best works of fiction from a wide range of classic authors. A Polite Fiction TARYN SIMON WORKS An Occupation of Loss Paperwork and the Will of Capital Black Square Cutaways A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I XVIII Image Atlas L Ron Hubbard s Fiction Books L Ron Hubbard s Fiction Books With New York Times bestsellers and than million copies of his works in circulation, L Ron Hubbard is among the most ReadWorks Improve your students reading comprehension with ReadWorks Access thousands of high quality, free K articles, and create online assignments with them for your

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    One thought on “How Fiction Works”

    1. Critics often get a bad reputation, and likely deservingly so. I often reflect on a quote by Macedonio Fernández that a critic knows nothing of what perfect literature is, but only what it is not and, especially while writing on , am constantly haunted by Susan Sontag's Against Interpretation. I tend to think of critics as being that friend in high school that hangs out at your band practice. He is the friend that knows more about your songs than you do, and has memorized your lyrics before you [...]

    2. “When I talk about free indirect style I am really talking about point of view, and when I talk about point of view I am really talking about the perception of detail, and when I talk about detail I'm really talking about character, and when I talk about character I am really talking about the real, which is at the bottom of my inquiries.”― James Wood, How Fiction WorksYou might not agree with everything James Wood has to say about a particular author or work of literature, but you have to [...]

    3. For 75 pages this was all clang clang clang goes the trolley ding ding ding goes the bell but then it turned a sharp corner and I think I done got throwed off the bus. Ow! As it rattled off without me I was left to think carefully about what I’m doing when I read a novel (aside from avoiding the interminable election debates on tv, OMG another 3 weeks to go), and what I think a novel is doing or supposed to be doing. It’s good to be made to think about these things. But why did I get throwed [...]

    4. This is a book I've read, re-read, and re-re-read. I go back to it frequently, whenever I've finished one of the titles from its bibliography, or just to revisit Wood's various topics. Deceptively simple and quickly read. If allowed, HFW will inform any novel you read. It is not comprehensive in its scope; it omits topics like plot, structure, etc. and limits itself to Wood's own intersts (an issue some reviewers take exception to). There was a time when I'd read a passage from a novel and wonde [...]

    5. I kind of hate reading books of this sort as they leave me with a heightened awareness of style, character, rhythm, etc. that makes it difficult to read average or sub-par fiction. Of course, the benefit of reading books like this is that I do cultivate a more discriminatory taste so that I read only the best "trashy" novels.I haven't read any of Wood's criticisms but if this brief tome is any indication of the author's style, erudition and insightfulness, I have been missing out.As with other b [...]

    6. A verymost entertaining and informative book about books and how writers make them from words placed in different orders. Split into handy chapters but written as one lengthy essay with numerical subheadings, Wood teaches us things from Flaubert, James, Joyce, Foster Wallace and other masters and mistresses about how to identify bad writing from good, and how free indirect style is a thing of beauty when done right. Only trouble is his persistent disagreement with a William Gass quote that he mi [...]

    7. Between the years 1910 and 1915, R. A. Torrey and A. C. Dixon compiled a series of books of essays entitled "The Fundamentals." With this series, Torrey and Dixon set out to give the true Christian absolutely everything that s/he needed to know in order to have as complete a picture of the Creation as possible. Perhaps in the knowledge that they had set for themselves an impossible task, Torrey and Dixon contented themselves with holding up the Bible as the perfect truth and counseling their rea [...]

    8. there’s nothing in here that'll surprise the seasoned reader, but it's a damn smart synthesis of it all. what really makes it a worthwhile read is wood’s obvious love for books, the enthusiasm really flies off the page. I’ll take that over anything overly clever, passionless, or jargon-rific what i'm really wanting is a big fat book all reference like & shit, one that can be read from cover to cover, one that tells everything ya need to know about the novel. if that book doesn’t alre [...]

    9. How Fiction Works is a fascinating theoretical book that should be read by anyone interesting in literature, linguistics and the foundations underlying creative writing itself. James Wood draws references from many different books and breaks everything down to varying levels of analysis to have a look at what makes fiction fiction.Wood's most interesting aspect of his book is how he breaks everything down into different levels and aspects. What I mean by this is that he has chapters on each impo [...]

    10. The best thing about this book is a quote from Cyril Connolly regarding what shouldn't be allowed in the novel: Many situations should be forbidden, all getting and losing of jobs, proposals of marriage, reception of love letters by either sex all allusions to illness or suicide (except insanity), all quotations, all mentions of genius, promise, writing, painting, sculpting, art, poetry, and the phrases 'I like your stuff,' 'What's his stuff like?' 'Damned good,' 'Let me make you some coffee,' a [...]

    11. this is gently deceptive as a title: this is not how 'fiction' works but how a 'sort' of fiction works. which happens to be his 'sort' and likely to be the 'sort' that interests someone who would read a book like this. on the one, acknowledged classics, admired contemporary, widely sourced. on the other, neither breathtakingly popular, which might garner readers for possibly non-literary reasons such as this movie or that event or person, nor obscurely involved in literary exploration of exactly [...]

    12. Çok faydalı ve okuması keyifli bir kuramsal eser.Kurmacaya dair yeni ufuklar açıyor, okurken farketmediğimiz edebi değerleri görünür kılıyor.Kurmaca eserlerdeki, karakter, anlatım, üslup, gerçekçilik vs. üzerine doyurucu fikirler ve bu fikirlere dair işe yarar örnekler veriyor.Okunması elzem.

    13. a mecânica da ficção é um trabalho muito interessante sobre as características do romance: narrativa, personagens, diálogos, estilo,Apesar de técnico, não é uma leitura cansativa porque Wood exemplifica tudo com pequenos excertos de obras de escritores conceituados (uns que já conhecia, outros que fiquei doida para conhecer).No capítulo das personagens há um texto sobre "O grande romance de José Saramago, O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis", em que se refere a genialidade de Saramago ao [...]

    14. I confess, I came into this expecting to dislike it. But the first chapters were perfectly readable if derivative, and had enough small moments of insight that I was really keen to keep reading. Reviews such as Walter Kirn's in the NYT pushed me even further towards wanting to like Wood, since citing Huck Finn, On the Road and Jesus' Son as three 'masterpieces'* that Wood can't account for is a bit like suggesting that a book about fashion can't account for fashion masterpieces such as happy pan [...]

    15. Where's the option for 3.5 stars when you need it? Points in this book's favor - It's short, and very readable. In the second of two introductions, Wood promises to be "mindful of the common reader" and to try to "reduce the scholastic stink to bearable levels". He does a commendable job of keeping his promise.Wood's enthusiasm for reading is evident throughout, and is infectious. The strongest aspect of the book are the many specific examples that Wood provides of what works and doesn't work i [...]

    16. To begin with, title is misleading. You expect a simplified yet exhaustive explanation of fiction from the title. Instead what you get is a short scholarly exposition of literary theory.That is not to say that this book is only for literature students and literary critics. There are good parts in it with simple explanation of various literary aspects of fiction.Chapters on narration and detail are particularly interesting and eye-opening. About one third of the book deals with varieties of narra [...]

    17. James Wood is brilliant! He simply is, and reading this book felt more like a conversation with a man who sees all in literature and loves literature, than a book or a lecture. It was a pleasure to read, and I will certainly re-visit it at some point – after having re-read or read, as the case may be, more of the novels he takes his many illustrative, interesting and apt examples from. Wood is a connoisseur of literature, in the extreme, but he never becomes condescending or didactic. He illum [...]

    18. should be called SOME REMARKS ON STYLE. seems supremely uninterested in "how fiction works," at least in the sense of "how a story works" or even "what a story is." in fact story is never discussed at all. character gets short shrift as well. actually there's really nothing discussed in here that might serve as an engine for literary creation. but maybe that's it; it's just not a book for writers. not really sure who it is a book for though. apparently for people who like saul bellow a lot. wish [...]

    19. This is a literary paean to the joys of good fiction. It is a deceptively simple title. It is really a guided tour of various works, and Wood delights in explaining what is extraordinary about devices or passages used in these stories. Sometimes he also takes pains to describe what doesn't work, being famously disappointed with Updike's The Terrorist, for instance. The greatest pleasure was to admire Wood's own wonderful stylings and prose.

    20. Once it came out in paperback I didn’t wait to buy this book. This writer does what the title suggests – he tells his readers how to direct attention when reading fiction.Many topics are covered: narration, detail, character, language and dialog, to name a few. Dozens of books are cited for the effective employment of particular strategies, so a side benefit is an armful of new reading ideas.Wood traces the origin of fiction. In ancient texts we find characters such as Kind David who simply [...]

    21. Almost whimsically James Wood writes about what he thinks makes fiction work and, in the process, what doesn't work. This is done in a few number of pages, where he covers a lot of ground.And it works.One of the things I appreciated the most is that Wood isn't (to use a term nowadays almost gone) high-brow. He is tremendously well-read--and is well-traversed in an amazing wide range of styles, genres etc and is obviously among the more well-educated of critics--but he is not above mentioning boo [...]

    22. An excellent book written from a man who is truly a lover of literature. This was an accessible introduction to literary criticism, and Woods challenged many of the common theorists/critics, widening (as a result) the possibilities for interpretation of any text. I feel like I learned a fair bit from reading this book, and I am looking forward to reading future books with a (hopefully) fresh pair of eyes.

    23. A grande conclusão que eu tirei desta leitura foi, utilizando as próprias palavras do autor, que «vamos crescendo como leitores, e leitores de vinte anos são praticamente virgens. Ainda não leram literatura suficiente para serem ensinados por ela a lê-la melhor. » Apesar de se tratar de um estudo, uma espécie de ensaio mais técnico, este livro não é de todo aborrecido, monótono ou fatigante. O autor teve a preocupação em escrevê-lo de uma forma simples, fluída, e com uma linguage [...]

    24. 2.5 ⭐️I primi capitoli mi avevano accolto con piacevolezza, dandomi la sensazione di un dialogo autore/lettore nel quale il primo, prendendo per mano il secondo, spiegava, dal suo punto di vista, come era giunto ad interpretare nascita ed evoluzione del romanzo. Chi scrive cosa, perché lo scrive in quel determinato modo, la possibile e probabile dietrologia di una frase articolata o di una semplice parola. Tutto però si è infranto sul finale. Gli ultimi capitoli, in particolare proprio l' [...]

    25. This is a little book (7 ½ x 5 inches / 248 pages of text) with a lot of personality. JW forgot to add the adjective ‘good’ to his title: How [good] fiction works should be, because that is what this sort of manual-compendium is all about. It is packed with clever and original insights about what makes (good) fiction. In «Narrating» JW is an advocate of a free indirect style. In «Detail» of a careful choice of them (“exact palpabilities”). In «Character» presentation, JW favors le [...]

    26. A great reading list (in chronological order) at the end. Otherwise: Eh+. Just fine reading. Nothing mind-blowingly new. No humor other than the suggestion that he's reminded of a description of a veiny cigar every day, that is, when he masturbates? The final pages about lifeness are solid and mildly inspiring. As far as a technical book for writers, I prefer the efficiency, clarity, and cleverness of "Making Shapely Fiction" -- but this book nicely retells the evolutionary history of the elemen [...]

    27. Perhaps the worst transgression of James Wood's How Fiction works is its title. Make no mistake, this is not a book about how to write a novel. Wood never addresses plot, or pacing, or even theme. Instead he's clear that the most important - perhaps the only important - goals of the novelist are to give ever-richer and more compelling details, and to be outsmarting convention at every turn. It's a highfalutin vision of writing, and Wood is pointedly dismissive of genre fiction. He instead delves [...]

    28. Spiegazione per Cynthia che queste cose non le sa.Leggendo questo libro ho capito che un romanzo funziona così: c'è uno che si chiama autore che compera un quaderno e una biro e comincia a scrivere delle parole. Quando il quaderno è finito lo dà a un altro che si chiama editore che gli dice: Braaavo! e prende il quaderno e lo passa allo stampatore che gli dice: Graaazie! poi copia le parole poi lo stampa e poi lo rilega. Adesso il romanzo c'è e può funzionare:a) se le pagine sono tante (ti [...]

    29. 4.5 starsThis is my favourite book of literary criticism; I prefer poetry to prose in my "scholarly career" (dear God), but this is perhaps the best work I've ever read, and it's a prose work. Not only is it very useful, it's highly original, and genuinely revelatory. I love it.

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