Narrative Design: Working with Imagination, Craft, and Form

Narrative Design: Working with Imagination, Craft, and Form

by Madison Smartt Bell

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Overview

Narrative Design: Working with Imagination, Craft, and Form by Madison Smartt Bell

With clarity, verve, and the sure instincts of a good teacher, Madison Smartt Bell offers a roll-up-your-sleeves approach to writing in this much-needed book.
Focusing on the big picture as well as the crucial details, Bell examines twelve stories by both established writers (including Peter Taylor, Mary Gaitskill, and Carolyn Chute) and his own former students. A story's use of time, plot, character, and other elements of fiction are analyzed, and readers are challenged to see each story's flaws and strengths. Careful endnotes bring attention to the ways in which various writers use language. Bell urges writers to develop the habit of thinking about form and finding the form that best suits their subject matter and style. His direct and practical advice allows writers to find their own voice and imagination.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393320213
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 04/28/2000
Pages: 392
Sales rank: 564,896
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Madison Smartt Bell is the author of seventeen novels, his most recent being Behind the Moon. He teaches at Goucher College and lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Hometown:

Baltimore, Maryland

Date of Birth:

August 1, 1957

Place of Birth:

Nashville, Tennessee

Education:

A.B. in English, Princeton University, 1979; M.A. in English and creative writing, Hollins College, 1981

Table of Contents

Prefacexi
I.Unconscious Mind1
II.Linear Design23
Depth Charge by Craig Bernardini33
Analysis45
Plot45
Character47
Tone47
Time Management48
Dialogue48
Suspense49
Point of View49
Imagery50
Design50
Theme51
Notes52
A Wife of Nashville by Peter Taylor61
Analysis80
Plot80
Character81
Tone84
Point of View84
Time Management86
Design88
Notes90
Daisy's Valentine by Mary Gaitskill98
Analysis114
Plot114
Character115
Tone117
Point of View118
Time Management118
Dialogue119
Suspense120
Imagery and Description120
Design121
Notes123
Hear That Long Train Moan by Percival Everett132
Analysis136
Plot136
Character137
Tone138
Point of View138
Dialogue139
Symbolism139
Design141
Notes143
Oh, Man Alive by Holden Brooks147
Analysis154
Plot154
Character155
Tone156
Point of View156
Dialogue157
Imagery and Description157
Design159
Notes160
The Sky Is Gray by Ernest J. Gaines165
Analysis188
Plot188
Character189
Tone193
Point of View194
Dialogue194
Imagery and Description195
Time Management196
Design197
Notes200
III.Modular Design211
Signs of Life by Miriam Kuznets217
Analysis221
Plot221
Character222
Tone222
Point of View223
Dialogue223
Imagery224
Design224
Notes227
Lizzie, Annie, and Rosie's Rescue of Me with Blue Cake by Carolyn Chute232
Analysis243
Plot243
Character244
Tone245
Point of View246
Dialogue246
Imagery and Description247
Design248
Notes251
The Child Downstairs by Marcia Golub257
Analysis263
Plot263
Character264
Tone266
Point of View267
Dialogue267
Imagery and Description268
Design269
Notes270
Red Hands by William T. Vollmann276
Analysis282
Plot282
Character283
Tone284
Point of View285
Time Management287
Dialogue288
Imagery and Description288
Design291
Notes293
Comic Strip by George Garrett300
Analysis312
Plot312
Character314
Tone316
Point of View317
Dialogue317
Time Management318
Suspense319
Imagery and Description319
Design323
Notes326
Little Red by Gilmore Tamny336
Analysis346
Plot346
Character348
Tone349
Dialogue349
Imagery and Description351
Design352
Notes356
IV.A Philosophy of Composition363
Glossary of Terms371
Contributors375
Permissions Acknowledgments377

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