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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Story Logic and the Craft of Fiction

ISBN 9780230580558
Publication Date October 2010
Formats Paperback Ebook 
Publisher Palgrave

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.

Catherine Brady is the author of three story collections, including Curled in the Bed of Love, winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. A former president of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, she teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco, USA.

Story Logic
The Elusiveness at the Heart of Story Structure
Chapter Structure and Shapeliness in the Novel
Three Key Strategies of Story Logic
Captured in Motion: Dynamic Characterization
Point of View Q& A 
Synedoche and Metonymy in Setting, Staging and Dialogue 
Patterns of Imagery
Showing and Telling
The Sentence as a Touchstone of Style 
Further Reading. 


Catherine Brady's Story Logic and the Craft of Fiction is one of the few books on the craft of fiction that is written with the same kind of imaginative range and depth, intellectual rigor, and tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty that create the best fiction. Unlike the ubiquitous 'how-to' manuals that clutter the market, Brady's book looks not to previous craft books for an understanding of narrative technique but to fiction itself. As a result, Brady rejects the clichéd conventional 'wisdom' those books promulgate, and instead of their set rules she gives us the flexible principles she has discovered through her careful examination of the myriad techniques of fiction writing and their relationships to that most mysterious and essential element of craft, story structure. This is a book that anyone serious about learning the art of fiction should read, and reread.' - David Jauss, author of Black Maps and Alone with All That Could Happen
'Catherine Brady's Story Logic and the Craft of Fiction is among the best books I have read on the craft and practice of fiction writing and reading. It not only clarifies many concepts and techniques used by master writers, it challenges the student writer to rise to their level by reading their work closely and passionately. Above all I find Story Logic and the Craft of Fiction engaging and eminently readable. It is a book every graduate writing student and every teacher of writing should read and absorb.' - Pablo Medina, Emerson College
'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
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