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Method and Madness: The Making of a Story: A Guide to Writing Fiction Revised Edition
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The textbook consist of fourteen chapters, an anthology of ten stories and thirty-nine readings. The chapters are as follows:
Chapter 1, What Is This Thing Called Creative Writing--The Basics?
Chapter 2, The Gift of Not Knowing--Writing as Discovery
Chapter 3, Details Details--The Basic Building Blocks
Chapter 4, The Short Story--Defining and Shaping
Chapter 5, Why You Need to Show and Tell--Dramatizing and Narrating
Chapter 6, Who's Telling This Story? Point of View
Chapter 7, How Reliable Is This Narrator?Read more ›
Reviewed by C J Singh (Berkeley, California)
At my suggestion, our writing group recently switched from another book as the main reference to Alice LaPlante's "METHOD AND MADNESS: THE MAKING OF A STORY. Our writing group comprises beginners as well as two MFA writers who have published short fiction in well-known literary magazines. Two months later, the consensus: this book is a model of lucid exposition of fiction-writing art and craft. This exposition is complemented with craft-analyses of 29 masterpiece stories by authors such as Flannery O' Connor, Joyce Carol Oates, and Robert Olen Butler.
Here's an example of LaPlante's lucid exposition. Chapter Five, titled "Why You Need to Show and Tell: Dramatizing and Narrating," opens:
'Show, Don't Tell.' "If you've ever taken a creative writing workshop, shown a story or essay to a writer friend who has taken workshops, or read just about any beginning book on creative writing, you will have bumped into this piece of conventional wisdom. The only problem is it's wrong. Well, wrong is perhaps too strong a word. Let's say it's certainly not always right" (page 147).
In support of her assertion "show, don't tell" advice needs to be modified, LaPlante cites from Vladimir Nabokov's novel "Lolita":
"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sins, my soul, Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta' She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Let me just start off by saying that I am using this book as a textbook for a college class on creative writing. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
I bought this for my English class, I'm really happy with it and the price I got it for.Published 18 months ago by Celina Mills
I purchased this from another website for class. It's awful. The writing exercises are ridiculous and serve no purpose other than a "method to madness". Read morePublished 22 months ago by Whitney
I just finished with my Spring Quarter writing classes and Alice LaPlante's Method and Madness, was the primary text for one of my classes. Read morePublished on July 2, 2014 by Karen Lea Hansen
Textbooks on creative writing abound, and the question is what book to consider using and for what level, and what amount of info on writing and samples of writing are ideal? Read morePublished on April 18, 2014 by Jennifer Dick
This book comes highly recommended by graduate school professors and I have found it to be incredibly useful and instructive.Published on September 16, 2013 by aksb
This textbook was an easy read. I felt as if Alice was sitting across the table talking to me. She wasn't stiff and boring. Read morePublished on September 2, 2013 by writethought
Thre were some very helpful subtopics, but the class is not over until August, and I will have a better idea then.Published on June 17, 2013 by K Roberts
Required for a class and after reading almost fifty percent of the book realized it was pretty good. The author draws on good examples and keeps the reader engaged. Read morePublished on April 18, 2013 by Branden Crom Jr.