[PDF/EBOOK] How Fiction Works By James Wood – Epub, Kindle eBook and DOC Online


  • Paperback
  • 265
  • How Fiction Works
  • James Wood
  • English
  • 06 September 2019
  • 9780312428471

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 and when I talk about character I am really talking about the real which is at the bottom of my inuiries”― James Wood How Fiction WorksYou might not agree with everything James Wood has to say about

  2. says:

    Critics often get a bad reputation and likely deservingly so I often reflect on a uote by Macedonio Fernández that a crit

  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 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 debat

  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

  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 allowed HFW will inform any

  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

  7. says:

    A verymost entertaining and informative book about books and how writers make them from words placed in different orders Spl

  8. says:

    021116 this is gently deceptive as a title this is not how 'fiction' works but how a 'sort' of fiction works which

  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 falutin' ivory tower show off talk that is when authors have an audience of fellow professors in mind The othe

  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 ser

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James Wood ï 2 Free download

How Fiction Works

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 Zawieszenie niewiary 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 Healing Sex 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 Spark (Stronger, excerpts by way of Wonder Woman and Philosophy 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 Sozialismus Und Kapitalistische Gesellschaftsordnung 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 Sponsor. Tom 1 (Sponsor, 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 Dragons Bride (The Dragon and the Scholar end a book you ll Absolute Banking English 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

Free read Ø PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free ï James Wood

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

Review How Fiction Works

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 Drunk on the Moon 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 Der ganze weg erudition and insightfulness I have been missing outAs with other books in this genre Wood covers the Rich Habits Poor Habits elements of the novel narrative detail character dialog realism style and briefly discusses its El Metal evolution tracing some of those The Ichneutae of Sophocles, with Notes and a Translation Into English, Preceded by Introductory Chapters Dealing with the Play, with Satyric Drama, an 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 Kana Pict-o-Graphix 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 Sienkiewicz. Żywot pisarza 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 TFS Ingenuity (The Terran Fleet Command Saga 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 Wybor idiomów angielskich eyebrows safe How Could She? 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 Words on Words embarrassingly also in Kensal Green where they had been together to see her little huddled grave p 14vs Ahmad is Finding Magic (Downside Ghosts, eighteen This is Half My Blood (Dartmoor, early April again green sneaks seed by seed into the drab city s Ja - Ty - My 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 Diamond Grill 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 The Poisoned Honey Cake (Roman Mystery Scrolls, energy would maintain opulent Eden feeding its dark Katyně 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 Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods eternal good pleasure What of the second law of thermodynamics pp 27 8In the first How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck? 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 Craft evolved from King David all Król życia 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 Dangerous Promise (Promises 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 Red Skies Falling (Skybound, 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 William (Enemies to Lovers, 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 From Irenaeus to Grotius 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 A May to December Romance 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 Herman Hertzberger end of the book Wood illustrates the competent but uninspired prose of much fiction using an Family Secrets 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 Wolves Among Sheep 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


About the Author: James Wood

James Douglas Graham Wood is an English literary critic essayist and novelist He is currently Professor of the Practice of Literary Criticism at Harvard University a part time position and a staff writer at The New Yorker magazineWood advocates an aesthetic approach to literature rather than ideologically driven trends in academic literary criticismWood is noted for coining the genre t