978-0-393-97123-1 / 0393971236

Narrative Design: A Writer's Guide to Structure

by Bell, Madison Smartt

Publisher:W W Norton & Co Inc (Np)



Prices INCLUDE standard shipping to United States
Show prices without shipping
Change shipping destination
Shipping prices may be approximate. Please verify cost before checkout.

About the book:

Rare it is to find an examination of the workings of the short story so diligent and loving as Madison Smartt Bell's in Narrative Design. According to Bell--a creative writing instructor and very fine fiction writer--"form or structure ... is of first and final importance to any work of fiction." Here, Bell scrutinizes the underlying architecture of 12 short stories--some by his students, others by the likes of Mary Gaitskill and William T. Vollmann. Bell is unstoppable, his discussion of the stories usually longer than the stories themselves. Every structural twist and turn is inspected, so that by tale's end we're reminded of those poor little frogs pinned for sixth-grade dissection, no bone left unturned. Bell's anatomy lessons are as eye opening as those of our youth (and a lot less gruesome), though I do recommend reading each story first in its entirety, only then backtracking for the bone by bone.

Were it not for Bell's insights regarding the fiction writer's juggling of craft and inspiration, a short-story writer might come away from this book completely paralyzed. Don't worry. Bell is well aware that the way in which a story comes into being is often as much of a mystery to the writer as to the reader. Though the stories included all demonstrate a strong structural logic, their writers, says Bell, "didn't plan it all. Probably could not have done so. At least not deliberately--not consciously." Instead, he writes, "Within the mind of every imaginative writer ... the faculty of conscious craftsmanship engages with the inexplicable choices and decisions of the unconscious mind. One of the writer's projects is always to try, somehow, to turn this engagement into less of a battle, more of a partnership." --Jane Steinberg

Search under way...

Search complete.

Click on the price to find out more about a book.

New books: 1 - 25 of 30


Used books: 1 - 25 of 75