Dan Glover's Reviews > How Fiction Works

How Fiction Works by James    Wood
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's review
Nov 09, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: literary-criticism-writing
Read from November 09 to 14, 2010

This was a very interesting and insightful book about exactly what the title says: how fiction works. I was a little worried more than once that this book would spoil some of the pure joy of reading good fiction for me, making me think, as it most certainly will, about the way fiction is crafted and about its technicalities and mechanics. But I believe that good fiction, I mean really good fiction, will still be a delight and I will now be better equipped to understand why mediocre and bad fiction is just that. I found the author's discussion of the voice of the narrator, character, consciousness, and truth/convention/realism to be particularly enlightening. Also intriguing was the discussion of detail as well as that on dialogue. One of the greatest strengths of this work is that it is well written, not merely useful in content, but really well-crafted prose. Usually technical books like this are laborious and workman-like but this the voice of this author is easy to listen to as he uses well composed phrases to teach the reader about well composed phrases. As one who aspires some day to attempt some fiction writing, I think this is one study I will be coming back to as a resource.

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11/09/2010 page 160
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