James Wood kindle / PDF How Fiction Works

James Wood º 2 Summary

Nto the machinery of storytelling to ask some fundamental uestions 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 freshJames Wood ranges widely f 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 discriminatory taste so that I read only the best trashy novelsI 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 outAs with other books in this genre Wood covers the elements of the novel narrative detail character dialog realism style and briefly discusses its evolution tracing some of those elements as far back as the biblical DavidWhile the whole work is impressive I was taken with several particularsNARRATIVEHere Wood doesn t focus so much on differences between 1st person and 3rd person so much as on what he terms free indirect style which is the tension between the author s perceptions and language and the character s As examples of this he uotes from Henry James What Maisie Knew a successful balance and John Updike s Terrorist an unsuccessful attempt She knew governesses were poor Miss Over was unmentionably and Mrs Wix ever so publicly so Neither this however nor the old brown frock nor the diadem nor the button made a difference for Maisie in the charm put forth through everything the charm of Mrs Wix s conveying that somehow in her ugliness and her poverty she was peculiarly and soothingly safe safer than any one in the world than papa than mamma than the lady with the arched eyebrows safe even though so much less beautiful than Miss Over on whose loveliness as she supposed it the little girl was faintly conscious that one couldn t rest with uite the same tucked in and kissed for good night feeling Mrs Wix was as safe as Clara Matilda who was in heaven and yet embarrassingly also in Kensal Green where they had been together to see her little huddled grave p 14vs Ahmad is eighteen This is early April again green sneaks seed by seed into the drab city s earthy crevices He looks down from his new height and thinks that to the insects unseen in the grass he would be if they had a consciousness like his God In the year past he has grown three inches to six feet unseen materialist forces working their will upon him He will not grow any taller he thinks in this life or the next If there is a next an inner devil murmurs What evidence beyond the Prophet s blazing and divinely inspired words proves that there is a next Where would it be hidden Who would forever stoke Hell s boilers What infinite source of energy would maintain opulent Eden feeding its dark eyed houris swelling its heavy hanging fruits renewing the streams and splashing fountains in which God as described in the ninth sura of the ur an take eternal good pleasure What of the second law of thermodynamics pp 27 8In the first excerpt Wood argues that James authentically inhabits Maisie s mind and yet can pull away to show the world around her Whereas Ahmad is thinking the Updike s thoughts not his own As soon as we imagine a Christian version of this narration we can guage Updike s awkward alienation from his character p 29CHARACTERCharacter is the most difficult aspect of the novel to invoke All too often authors fall back on static imagery p 95f Good characters are invoked using the telling detail or the nontelling detail Ie we remember them because of what they do or fail to do This applies both to main characters and incidental ones Ford Madox Fordwrites wonderfully about getting a character up and running what he calls getting a character in Fordloved a sentence from a Maupassant story La Reine Hortense He was a gentleman with red whiskers who always went first through a doorway Ford comments That gentleman is so sufficiently got in that you need no of him to understand how he will act He has been got in and can get to work at once pp 96 7Word s section titled Brief History of Consciousness also stands out in my mind Here he traces how story telling evolved from King David all external action to Macbeth a tale of publicized privacy to Raskolnikov Crime and Punishment where the character is being watched by us the readers p 146 This makes possible the novel as analyst of psychologicalinternal motives like no other medium before or since pp 147 8As before with character Wood uotes extensively from Ford s The English Novel and his memoir of Joseph Conrad It was to Diderotthat the Novel owes its next great step forward At that point it became suddenly evident that the Novel as such was capable of being regarded as a means of profoundly serious and many sided discussion and therefore a medium of profoundly serious investigation into the human case p 165 And What was the matter with the Novelwas that it went straight forward whereas in your gradual making acuaintanceship with your fellows you never do go straight forward To get such a man in fiction you could not begin at his beginning and work his life chronologically to the end You must first get him in with a strong impression and then work backwards and forwards over his past pp 166 7A few other highlights from the bookSection 97 The novel explores the complexity of human life the contradictions and compromises all must make with themselves and others to live Of course the novel does not provide philosophical answers Insteadit gives the best account of the complexity of our moral fabric pp 178 9Section 103f Rhythm and Music Having learned to discern however faintly in my case the rhythms of good prose it s difficult to read just anything But as in music you develop an ear for what you like and respond to Thus I like the cadences of Ursula Le Guin or Steve Erickson or James Branch Cabell but Robert Heinlein or Thomas Pynchon grateIn these sections too Wood raises problems of translation Eg Flaubert s original L idee d avoir engendre le delectait loses its music in English I ve always wished I could read the original Russian because I can t know whether I like Chekhov and Dostoyevsky or their translatorsTo finish out this section an observation paraphrased The good novelist balances free indirect speech with style the music of a sentenceFinally toward the end of the book Wood illustrates the competent but uninspired prose of much fiction using an excerpt from Le Carre s Smiley s People p 231 It s not bad writing but it takes few risks thin hotel The serious writer should reject mere photographic fidelity because art selects and shapes p 240I read a review in The New York Review of Books Nov 20 2008 Vol LV No 18 after finishing this book that I think nicely sums up what Wood is doing This surely is the heart of Wood s argument that we go to fiction for many reasonsbut what we are really in search of is not fiction but life itself Like the figures in our dreams the characters we encounter in fiction are really us and the story we are told is the story of ourselves NYRB p 88If the length of this review is any indication you can see that I m uite taken with this book and will be buying my own copy as soon as it comes out in paperback or I can get a cheap used copy Gabe (Alvarez Security become dated while others stay freshJames Wood ranges widely f I kind of hate reading Tony (Alvarez Security 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 The Simon Iff Stories & Other Works benefit of reading Polish-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary books like this is that I do cultivate a discriminatory taste so that I read only the The Best Interface Is No Interface best trashy novelsI haven t read any of Wood s criticisms James Fitzjames but if this Contemporary Poetry brief tome is any indication of the author s style erudition and insightfulness I have Sweet 16 been missing outAs with other Le Crocodile d'Aristote: Une histoire de la philosophie par la peinture books in this genre Wood covers the elements of the novel narrative detail character dialog realism style and Chasing Vermeer (Chasing Vermeer, briefly discusses its evolution tracing some of those elements as far Something Wonderful (Sequels, back as the Men In Petticoats biblical DavidWhile the whole work is impressive I was taken with several particularsNARRATIVEHere Wood doesn t focus so much on differences Jungle Fever (Jessicas Seduction between 1st person and 3rd person so much as on what he terms free indirect style which is the tension Bride for a Night between the author s perceptions and language and the character s As examples of this he uotes from Henry James What Maisie Knew a successful Atomic Design balance and John Updike s Terrorist an unsuccessful attempt She knew governesses were poor Miss Over was unmentionably and Mrs Wix ever so publicly so Neither this however nor the old Great Goddesses brown frock nor the diadem nor the Transference Countertransference button made a difference for Maisie in the charm put forth through everything the charm of Mrs Wix s conveying that somehow in her ugliness and her poverty she was peculiarly and soothingly safe safer than any one in the world than papa than mamma than the lady with the arched eyebrows safe even though so much less Linchpin beautiful than Miss Over on whose loveliness as she supposed it the little girl was faintly conscious that one couldn t rest with uite the same tucked in and kissed for good night feeling Mrs Wix was as safe as Clara Matilda who was in heaven and yet embarrassingly also in Kensal Green where they had The Shadow of Gods (The Godling Chronicles, been together to see her little huddled grave p 14vs Ahmad is eighteen This is early April again green sneaks seed The Tropes of Fantasy Fiction by seed into the drab city s earthy crevices He looks down from his new height and thinks that to the insects unseen in the grass he would Doctor Strange be if they had a consciousness like his God In the year past he has grown three inches to six feet unseen materialist forces working their will upon him He will not grow any taller he thinks in this life or the next If there is a next an inner devil murmurs What evidence The End of Everything (The Risen Dead, Pt. 1) beyond the Prophet s The Embrace blazing and divinely inspired words proves that there is a next Where would it Madoc, Vol. 5 be hidden Who would forever stoke Hell s Humiliated by My Husband and Best Friend boilers What infinite source of energy would maintain opulent Eden feeding its dark eyed houris swelling its heavy hanging fruits renewing the streams and splashing fountains in which God as described in the ninth sura of the ur an take eternal good pleasure What of the second law of thermodynamics pp 27 8In the first excerpt Wood argues that James authentically inhabits Maisie s mind and yet can pull away to show the world around her Whereas Ahmad is thinking the Updike s thoughts not his own As soon as we imagine a Christian version of this narration we can guage Updike s awkward alienation from his character p 29CHARACTERCharacter is the most difficult aspect of the novel to invoke All too often authors fall Heart of Darkness (Includes: Lords of the Underworld back on static imagery p 95f Good characters are invoked using the telling detail or the nontelling detail Ie we remember them Infatuation (Underground Kings because of what they do or fail to do This applies Wim Crouwel both to main characters and incidental ones Ford Madox Fordwrites wonderfully about getting a character up and running what he calls getting a character in Fordloved a sentence from a Maupassant story La Reine Hortense He was a gentleman with red whiskers who always went first through a doorway Ford comments That gentleman is so sufficiently got in that you need no of him to understand how he will act He has Białe. Zimna wyspa Spitsbergen been got in and can get to work at once pp 96 7Word s section titled Brief History of Consciousness also stands out in my mind Here he traces how story telling evolved from King David all external action to Macbeth a tale of publicized privacy to Raskolnikov Crime and Punishment where the character is হারেম being watched Wolf Protector (Federal Paranormal Unit, by us the readers p 146 This makes possible the novel as analyst of psychologicalinternal motives like no other medium My Horizontal Life before or since pp 147 8As Pitu i Kudłata Dają Radę before with character Wood uotes extensively from Ford s The English Novel and his memoir of Joseph Conrad It was to Diderotthat the Novel owes its next great step forward At that point it The Wounded King became suddenly evident that the Novel as such was capable of Lords of Kobol - Book Five being regarded as a means of profoundly serious and many sided discussion and therefore a medium of profoundly serious investigation into the human case p 165 And What was the matter with the Novelwas that it went straight forward whereas in your gradual making acuaintanceship with your fellows you never do go straight forward To get such a man in fiction you could not Down a Notch begin at his Ass Goblins of Auschwitz beginning and work his life chronologically to the end You must first get him in with a strong impression and then work Mounted by a Monster backwards and forwards over his past pp 166 7A few other highlights from the Torrent (River of Time, bookSection 97 The novel explores the complexity of human life the contradictions and compromises all must make with themselves and others to live Of course the novel does not provide philosophical answers Insteadit gives the Belle de Jour (Belle De Jour best account of the complexity of our moral fabric pp 178 9Section 103f Rhythm and Music Having learned to discern however faintly in my case the rhythms of good prose it s difficult to read just anything But as in music you develop an ear for what you like and respond to Thus I like the cadences of Ursula Le Guin or Steve Erickson or James Branch Cabell After Hours but Robert Heinlein or Thomas Pynchon grateIn these sections too Wood raises problems of translation Eg Flaubert s original L idee d avoir engendre le delectait loses its music in English I ve always wished I could read the original Russian Black Mirror and Critical Media Theory because I can t know whether I like Chekhov and Dostoyevsky or their translatorsTo finish out this section an observation paraphrased The good novelist Tame a Wild Heart (Tame, balances free indirect speech with style the music of a sentenceFinally toward the end of the Voyeur (Colección Maestros del Erotismo, book Wood illustrates the competent Omega Twink but uninspired prose of much fiction using an excerpt from Le Carre s Smiley s People p 231 It s not Demon Seduction (Seductive Shorts bad writing God Help the Child but it takes few risks thin hotel The serious writer should reject mere photographic fidelity To Serve is Divine (The Divine Trilogy, because art selects and shapes p 240I read a review in The New York Review of Books Nov 20 2008 Vol LV No 18 after finishing this The Maid and the Billionaire Prince book that I think nicely sums up what Wood is doing This surely is the heart of Wood s argument that we go to fiction for many reasonsbut what we are really in search of is not fiction The Friend (Its Just Us Here, but life itself Like the figures in our dreams the characters we encounter in fiction are really us and the story we are told is the story of ourselves NYRB p 88If the length of this review is any indication you can see that I m uite taken with this Delacroix book and will Pan Samochodzik i uroczysko be Cat buying my own copy as soon as it comes out in paperback or I can get a cheap used copy

Read & download 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 a celebration of its lasting power Here one of the most prominent and stylish critics of our time looks i Critics often get a bad reputation and likely deservingly so I often reflect on a uote by Macedonio Fern ndez that a critic knows nothing of what perfect literature is but only what it is not and especially while writing on Goodreads 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 about your songs than you do and has memorized your lyrics before you ve finished writing them he is friend that talks about your band and is always there to support your band because somehow it makes him feel like he is part of the band maybe even the key part When I write on here I have to accept the fact that I am glorifying an art that puts stars in my eyes but the I point out theory and what does and doesn t work still in no way makes me feel as if I am able to create the art that I love to assess Occasionally I have a bit of an existential crisis everyone needs a good existential crisis from time to time and wonder why I spent so much time writing about writing instead of simply attempting art myself not that I m a critic or am in any way ualified to give opinions on a book Perhaps it is because I am no good at it but talking about it makes me feel like I can be part of that cool club of artists as if understanding Roberto Bola o somehow makes me like one of the characters hanging out with him in his books that I so adoreJames Wood saves me from the despair of actually loving the idea of being a critic To be honest if you were to ask me what do you want to be when you grow up because at 28 I still think of the future in this way and forget that I am grown up because I sure as hell don t feel like it I would answer that my rock star dream is to teach college lit and review books for the New Yorker Just like my boy James Wood Wood makes reviewing its own art form that is as eually valid and beautiful as literature itself When I read his reviews I read them with the same awe and critical eye as I do any novelist the man packs theory and prose into tiny packages of literary power that paint a masterpiece of ideas on the canvas of a novel Just today I was wowed by his review of The Buried Giant in which he managed to reveal all the novel s misgivings while capturing all the author s strengths James Wood gives critics a good name and his How Fiction Works is an immensely valuable readI learned from this book than I did in all of college pursuing an English Degree Wood tackles the theory and joy of an intensely impressive array of writers probably pointing out even to them just what they get right or wrong John Updike is used in some of the best do NOT do this passages of the book This book is indispensable to anyone hoping to look deeper into books and have the literary science to solidify your own opinion and will create an endless to read list from all the examples he delivers Wood is opinionated and rather aggressively so though I tend to often agree with him and even when I don t his opinions are so well argued that they are still a joy to read I take this down off the shelf and read over select passages it is one long essay broken up into mercifully short chapters at least once every few months This man has my rock star job and just may be my hero Ja - Ty - My bad reputation and likely deservingly so I often reflect on a uote Diamond Grill by Macedonio Fern ndez that a critic knows nothing of what perfect literature is The Poisoned Honey Cake (Roman Mystery Scrolls, but only what it is not and especially while writing on Goodreads am constantly haunted Katyně by Susan Sontag s Against Interpretation I tend to think of critics as Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods being that friend in high school that hangs out at your How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck? band practice He is the friend that knows about your songs than you do and has memorized your lyrics Craft before you ve finished writing them he is friend that talks about your Król życia band and is always there to support your Dangerous Promise (Promises band Red Skies Falling (Skybound, because somehow it makes him feel like he is part of the William (Enemies to Lovers, band maybe even the key part When I write on here I have to accept the fact that I am glorifying an art that puts stars in my eyes From Irenaeus to Grotius but the I point out theory and what does and doesn t work still in no way makes me feel as if I am able to create the art that I love to assess Occasionally I have a A May to December Romance bit of an existential crisis everyone needs a good existential crisis from time to time and wonder why I spent so much time writing about writing instead of simply attempting art myself not that I m a critic or am in any way ualified to give opinions on a Moravagine book Perhaps it is Herman Hertzberger because I am no good at it Family Secrets but talking about it makes me feel like I can Wolves Among Sheep be part of that cool club of artists as if understanding Roberto Bola o somehow makes me like one of the characters hanging out with him in his Writing Fight Scenes books that I so adoreJames Wood saves me from the despair of actually loving the idea of Punchdrunkey's Kinbaku Coloring book: Shibari Cartoons for the 18 Artist being a critic To Graphic Design be honest if you were to ask me what do you want to Włosy Mamy be when you grow up Caring for Victor because at 28 I still think of the future in this way and forget that I am grown up Omkara books for the New Yorker Just like my AMSG boy James Wood Wood makes reviewing its own art form that is as eually valid and Who Killed Hazel Drew? beautiful as literature itself When I read his reviews I read them with the same awe and critical eye as I do any novelist the man packs theory and prose into tiny packages of literary power that paint a masterpiece of ideas on the canvas of a novel Just today I was wowed A Whole New League (Briarwood High Book 2) by his review of The Buried Giant in which he managed to reveal all the novel s misgivings while capturing all the author s strengths James Wood gives critics a good name and his How Fiction Works is an immensely valuable readI learned from this Since I Died book than I did in all of college pursuing an English Degree Wood tackles the theory and joy of an intensely impressive array of writers probably pointing out even to them just what they get right or wrong John Updike is used in some of the Not Pulling Out 2 best do NOT do this passages of the Driving on the Edge book This El Socialismo Historico Altoaragones book is indispensable to anyone hoping to look deeper into Dont Call Me Coach books and have the literary science to solidify your own opinion and will create an endless to read list from all the examples he delivers Wood is opinionated and rather aggressively so though I tend to often agree with him and even when I don t his opinions are so well argued that they are still a joy to read I take this down off the shelf and read over select passages it is one long essay Obłok Magellana broken up into mercifully short chapters at least once every few months This man has my rock star job and just may Destinys Need be my hero

Read & download Þ PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free º James Wood

Rom Homer to Make Way for Ducklings from the Bible to John le Carré and his book is both a study of the techniues 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 pag I thought this book would be written with a writerly slant but no More with a readerly slant turns out Still as a writer wading into novel writing you can pick up a thing or two Up to you I imagine Wood thinking He s about educating readersThe good thing This is mostly approached in layman s terms It does not come across as high falutin ivory tower show off talk that is when authors have an audience of fellow professors in mind The other good thing Wood uses so many excerpts by way of example you will find yourself wanting to read some of the books he alludes to For me that would be books like The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis Saramago Sabbath s Theater Roth Seize the Day Bellow The Waves Woolf The Rainbow Lawrence and Wittgenstein s Nephew Bernhard to name a fewIt s always embarrassing to see how not so well read you are when you read books about reading isn t itAnyway the sections of the book give you an idea about where James Wood goes with this Narrating Flaubert and Modern Narrative Flaubert and the Rise of the Flaneur Detail Character A Brief History of Consciousness Sympathy and Complexity Language Dialogue and Truth Convention RealismThe Realism discussion at the end is amusing Nobody uite agrees on what is real and many newer writers like to pile on and dis realism in very realistic ways Whatever I leave that to the philosophers who also disagree on what a chair is This is in the end a book you ll enjoy if you like reading about reading It s big print it s fast and it drops names and uotes like a baby drops food from the high chair What s not to like Jewish Life book is Sex Toys 101 both a study of the techniues of fiction making and an alternative history of the novel Playful and profound How Fiction Works will The Joy in Business be enlightening to writers readers and anyone else interested in what happens on the pag I thought this Stuffed book would Cotas Claim be written with a writerly slant The Captured Princess (Taken by Vikings, but no More with a readerly slant turns out Still as a writer wading into novel writing you can pick up a thing or two Up to you I imagine Wood thinking He s about educating readersThe good thing This is mostly approached in layman s terms It does not come across as high falutin ivory tower show off talk that is when authors have an audience of fellow professors in mind The other good thing Wood uses so many excerpts Pamięć - brzemię i uwolnienie. Niemcy wobec nazistowskiej przeszłości (1945-2010) by way of example you will find yourself wanting to read some of the Fakers, Forgers Phoneys books he alludes to For me that would Hearing the Voice of People with Dementia be Dreams Come to Life (Bendy and the Ink Machine, Book 1) books like The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis Saramago Sabbath s Theater Roth Seize the Day Bellow The Waves Woolf The Rainbow Lawrence and Wittgenstein s Nephew Bernhard to name a fewIt s always embarrassing to see how not so well read you are when you read Doing Without Concepts books about reading isn t itAnyway the sections of the Radio Free Europe and the Pursuit of Democracy book give you an idea about where James Wood goes with this Narrating Flaubert and Modern Narrative Flaubert and the Rise of the Flaneur Detail Character A Brief History of Consciousness Sympathy and Complexity Language Dialogue and Truth Convention RealismThe Realism discussion at the end is amusing Nobody uite agrees on what is real and many newer writers like to pile on and dis realism in very realistic ways Whatever I leave that to the philosophers who also disagree on what a chair is This is in the end a But I Survived book you ll enjoy if you like reading about reading It s A Passion for More big print it s fast and it drops names and uotes like a Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia baby drops food from the high chair What s not to like


10 thoughts on “How Fiction Works

  1. says:

    “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 a

  2. says:

    Critics often get a bad reputation and likely deservingly so I often reflect on a uote by Macedonio Fernández that a critic knows not

  3. says:

    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

  4. says:

    What I love about books like this is that they are filled with gobbets I rewatched The History Boys also referenced at one point not too long ago including a casual reference to the ridiculousness that is Boney M and allow me to dip into books I would never consider reading or had up to that point never conside

  5. says:

    This is a book I've read re read and re re read I go back to it freuently whenever I've finished one of the titles from its bibliography or just to revisit Wood's various topics Deceptively simple and uickly read If allow

  6. says:

    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 discriminatory taste so that I read only the best trashy novelsI haven't read any of Wood's criticisms but if this brief tome is any indication of the author's styl

  7. says:

    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 righ

  8. says:

    021116 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 b

  9. says:

    I thought this book would be written with a writerly slant but no More with a readerly slant turns out Still as a writer wading into novel writing you can pick up a thing or two Up to you I imagine Wood thinking He's about educating readersThe good thing This is mostly approached in layman's terms It does not come across as high fal

  10. says:

    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 th

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