- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 2010 edition (October 15, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0230580556
- ISBN-13: 978-0230580558
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,208,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Story Logic and the Craft of Fiction 2010th Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"Even writers - even, alas, teaching writers - often believe that creative writing can't really be taught (or presumably, therefore, learned), because it is, as Catherine Brady tells us, "often intuitive, opportunistic, and spontaneous" and thus beyond our conscious control. In her marvelous Story Logic and the Craft of Fiction, Brady not only makes the case that these skills can and should be consciously taught and learned, but shows us how, uncovering the subtle processes and techniques that master writers bring to their craft, not as formulae but as practices and habits of imagination. Through clear, passionate readings and through exercises designed both to locate and to free their users, Brady helps writers develop the skills that will help them to hone and then to take advantage of their intuitions and opportunities, at once spontaneously and with writer's guile. I learned from this book. I will use it in my classroom and at my desk." —Katharine Coles, University of Utah
"What a welcome book. Story Logic and the Craft of Fiction is not a rigid text but rather a lively conversation that encourages writers to be both playful and attentive. Catherine Brady, an accomplished author and a talented teacher, is a spirited guide through such challenges as plot, characterization, point of view and figurative language. Brady's exercises are original and provocative. This comprehensive, intelligent book inspires emerging writers and experienced writers to look anew at opportunities for developing the art of narrative writing." —Valerie Miner, author of After Eden, artist in residence and professor at Stanford University
"Catherine Brady's Story Logic and the Craft of Fiction is for the serious writer, though it also offers significant rewards to serious readers. Brady's intelligence, insight, dedication to exploring how fiction works and dedication to sharing her discoveries with others are evident on every page. Anyone holding this book and wondering if there's truly anything here that hasn't already been said in standard handbooks, or in more advanced essays on craft, should rest assured: Catherine Brady has something to add to the conversation." —Peter Turchi, author of Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer
From the Back Cover
This book illuminates how technique serves 'story logic,' the particular way fiction makes meaning. Writers raid the cupboard of theory looking for what works, and generic rules don't account for the rich variety of strategies they employ. For writers who are past the beginner stage, Brady offers a closer look at craft fundamentals, including plot, characterization, patterns of imagery, and style. The lively, lucid discussion draws on vivid examples from classic and contemporary fiction, ranging from George Eliot and William Faulkner to Haruki Murakami and Toni Morrison. Because it supplies the analytical tools needed to read as a writer, this text will enrich the reader's approach to any work of fiction, energizing discussion in a workshop or craft course.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Reviewed by C. J. Singh (Berkeley, California)
Techniques for Evoking Emotional Logic in Fiction
Catherine Brady's Story Logic and the Craft of Fiction is intended for readers already familiar with a basic textbook used in writing courses-- books such as "Writing Fiction" by Janet Burroway, "Shaping the Story" by Mark Baechtel, or "A Short Story Writer's Companion" by Tom Bailey. (See my reviews of these on amazon.com.)
In the opening chapter, Brady notes: "...Good fiction engages a reader in struggling to reconcile tension and inconsistencies" (p 4). As this engagement in literary fiction is achieved via subtext, the writer should strive "to sustain an enhanced ratio of subtext to text, and any methods that achieve this justify themselves. How all the elements of fiction work interdependently to serve this end forms the subject for this entire book" (p 7). The author presents several examples drawn from her teaching experience including a detailed analysis of Katherine Mansfield's much anthologized short story "The Garden Party"--one of my favorites. I tested the clarity of her analysis on a reader unfamiliar with the story. The reader understood it readily. The subsequent chapters are replete with lucid craft-analyses of classic and contemporary works.
In the second chapter, aptly titled "Elusiveness at the Heart of Story Structure," Brady analyzes the emotional logic in short stories by Grace Paley, Junot Diaz, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Alice Munro. "What about novels?" I was asking myself. Brady notes: "The pressure for economy in a short story makes it a perfect vehicle for considering how writers make choices about such gaps, but the principle holds true for a plot of any length" (p15). Not to worry, the third chapter is titled "Chapter Structure and Shapeliness in the Novel" and includes analyses of William Faulkner's "Intruder in the Dust," and J. M. Coetzee's postmodern novel "Diary of a Bad Year." Despite my not having read the Coetzee novel, I understood her seven-page analysis. Brady is a master of expository writing.
The fourth chapter, "Three Key Strategies of Story Logic," explains peripheral detail, recurrence, and sequencing. It includes an analysis of Ernest Hemingway's short story "The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio," as well as two examples of student manuscripts submitted in the author's MFA workshop courses. "In the kinesthetic play of ordering and reordering events and scenes and sentences, the trick lies in keeping a loose hold on intention while staying alert for any opportunities that arise. By lucky accident and persistence, playfulness can arrive at the right arrangement to make silence speak" (p. 69).
Early in the fifth chapter, "Captured in Motion: Dynamic Characterization," Brady writes: "The relationship between character and plot is something like a Mobius strip that reverses in itself endlessly; you need a plot to reveal character, and you need a character to capable of setting a plot in motion (p 73). The chapter includes analyses of James Joyce's story "The Dead" and Raymond Carver's "Careful," as well as Alice McDermott's novel, "Child of My Heart."
In the sixth chapter, "Point of View Q & A," Brady observes: "Overly scrupulous policing (especially in the workshop, by nature predisposed to fault-finding) pressures writers to sacrifice vitality to narrow notions of veracity" (p 101). Her detailed analysis of Alice Munro's "My Mother's Dream," told by the baby she's carrying, suggests that we could "accept it as a retrospective reconstruction of events the narrator has been told throughout her childhood" (p 105). Not that this is unprecedented: Laurence Sterne's "Tristram Shandy," one of my favorite postmodern novels, was published in 1766.
Chapters seven and eight explain the use of synecdoche, metonymy, and patterning of imagery as craft elements in fiction. Brady analyzes Anton Chekov's "Gooseberries," with a helpful Venn diagram, as well as Michael Cunningham's novel "Hours." The ninth chapter, "Showing and Telling," explains how effective telling can artfully include showing as in Tobias Wolff's novel, "Old School."
In the concluding chapter, "The Sentence as a Touchstone of Style" Brady acknowledges that she can be "a grammar geek," and, but also adds, "Correctness counts, but to be merely correct is tantamount to entering a plow horse in the Kentucky Derby" (p 155). Brady diagrams sentences from George Eliot's "Middlemarch," William Faulkner's "Barn Burning," and Virginia Woolf's "Mrs Dalloway." She concludes with this advice: "Fiction is written sentence by sentence, and the habit of thinking about syntax as a dramatic element should be part of your composing process, not just a task reserved for revision. Despite all the advice books that recommend settling for a sloppy first draft and trusting to revision, a practice of indifference toward syntax usually means a writer will rely on conventional arrangement of works to order conventional ways of seeing. One sentence lead to another, and a bad sentence leads to another like itself" (p 169). Excellent advice for short-story writers. Novel writers would likely find it hard to follow and prefer settling for "a sloppy first draft," deferring concerns about syntax to subsequent drafts.
Brady's fiction-craft book is enhanced with excellent exercises for the intermediate/advanced student.
this makes me sweat the small stuff,
look at the big picture,
and uses enough big words to fill my hungry brain...
actually, I'm thinking out loud here: what's so good about it is also it's downside. It intellectualizes fiction, which should always be accessible to the reader. But, if you can jump on that candy ship and don't mind re-reading certain passages that we're written for folks with a much larger brain capacity then I. You will benefit from this book. I would list it as one of the best on the craft of fiction -- and that's not only because of heady talk, I think because of the exercises at the end that gets that "must own" factor.
Published by Palgrave MacMillan (an academic imprint), this is likely a response to the "publish or perish" mandate imposed on all college faculty, even adjunct faculty. Certainly it fulfills that mandate. Unfortunately, it does little more. As a useful and insightful resource for working writers of fiction, it falls short. It is much more likely to gather dust than see frequent use. Excluding the exercises, notes, further reading, and index, it runs 170 pages.