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The Half-Known World: On Writing Fiction

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The Half-Known World: On Writing Fiction Cover

ISBN13: 9781555975043
ISBN10: 1555975046
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A rigorous examination of the workings of fiction by the novelist Robert Boswell, “one of America’s finest writers” (Tom Perrotta)

 Robert Boswell has been writing, reading, and teaching literature for more than twenty years. In this sparkling collection of essays, he brings this vast experience and a keen critical eye to bear on craft issues facing literary writers. Examples from masters such as Leo Tolstoy, Flannery O’Connor, and Alice Munro illustrate this engaging discussion of what makes great writing.

 
At the same time, Boswell moves readers beyond the classroom, candidly sharing the experiences that have shaped his own writing life. A chance encounter in a hotel bar leads to a fascinating glimpse into his imaginative process. And through the story of a boyhood adventure, Boswell details how important it is for writers to give themselves over to what he calls the “half-known world” of fiction, where surprise and meaning converge.

Review:

"In clear, charming prose, novelist Bos-well delivers a satisfying exploration of the craft of writing fiction, drawing from an array of well-chosen examples. In one instance he offers a full-bodied analysis of Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich to illustrate his argument about the use of social paradigm in fiction; in a chapter on politics in the novel, he helpfully streamlines a Noam Chomsky essay into an explanatory list of the political responsibilities of the intellectual. Boswell's defense of his concept of the 'half-known world' — the idea that there must be 'a dimension to the fictional reality that escapes comprehension' — is spiritedly articulated and defended, and the book feels written for the serious writing student rather than the beginner. However, while addressing a sophisticated audience, he is direct — a chapter on omniscient narrators answers tough narrative questions in an easy-to-follow manner. Throughout, Boswell presents autobiographical moments and brief vignettes of his own devising to illustrate his concepts, reinforcing the fact that, like his great predecessor in craft writing John Gardner, he is a working fiction writer who knows his material." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

A rigorous examination of the workings of fiction by the novelist Robert Boswell, “one of Americas finest writers” (Tom Perrotta)

 Robert Boswell has been writing, reading, and teaching literature for more than twenty years. In this sparkling collection of essays, he brings this vast experience and a keen critical eye to bear on craft issues facing literary writers. Examples from masters such as Leo Tolstoy, Flannery OConnor, and Alice Munro illustrate this engaging discussion of what makes great writing.

 
At the same time, Boswell moves readers beyond the classroom, candidly sharing the experiences that have shaped his own writing life. A chance encounter in a hotel bar leads to a fascinating glimpse into his imaginative process. And through the story of a boyhood adventure, Boswell details how important it is for writers to give themselves over to what he calls the “half-known world” of fiction, where surprise and meaning converge.

About the Author

Robert Boswell is the author of five novels, most recently Centurys Son. He teaches creative writing at New Mexico State University, the University of Houston, and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Viharius, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by Viharius)
This is a wonderful book of craft by a well-respected teacher who has been teaching creative writing for close to three decades in some of the best institutions and writer's conferences in the country. He draws on his own life experiences and weaves into them the essence of some aspect of craft writing, like plot or characterization or dialogue. This is not an instruction manual -- do this, then do that. Rather, it is a series of essays that highlight some aspect of the craft of fiction, gives examples of novels and short stories where the author has done just that, and leaves you to figure out how to bring this skill into your own writing in your own way.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781555975043
Subtitle:
On Writing Fiction
Author:
Boswell, Robert
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Subject:
Writing Skills
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Composition & Creative Writing - Fiction
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Authorship
Subject:
Fiction -- Authorship.
Subject:
Reference/Writing
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20080722
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
176
Dimensions:
7.86 x 5.86 x 0.57 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Politics » General
Reference » Writing » Fiction
Reference » Writing » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General

The Half-Known World: On Writing Fiction New Trade Paper
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Product details 176 pages Graywolf Press - English 9781555975043 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In clear, charming prose, novelist Bos-well delivers a satisfying exploration of the craft of writing fiction, drawing from an array of well-chosen examples. In one instance he offers a full-bodied analysis of Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich to illustrate his argument about the use of social paradigm in fiction; in a chapter on politics in the novel, he helpfully streamlines a Noam Chomsky essay into an explanatory list of the political responsibilities of the intellectual. Boswell's defense of his concept of the 'half-known world' — the idea that there must be 'a dimension to the fictional reality that escapes comprehension' — is spiritedly articulated and defended, and the book feels written for the serious writing student rather than the beginner. However, while addressing a sophisticated audience, he is direct — a chapter on omniscient narrators answers tough narrative questions in an easy-to-follow manner. Throughout, Boswell presents autobiographical moments and brief vignettes of his own devising to illustrate his concepts, reinforcing the fact that, like his great predecessor in craft writing John Gardner, he is a working fiction writer who knows his material." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
A rigorous examination of the workings of fiction by the novelist Robert Boswell, “one of Americas finest writers” (Tom Perrotta)

 Robert Boswell has been writing, reading, and teaching literature for more than twenty years. In this sparkling collection of essays, he brings this vast experience and a keen critical eye to bear on craft issues facing literary writers. Examples from masters such as Leo Tolstoy, Flannery OConnor, and Alice Munro illustrate this engaging discussion of what makes great writing.

 
At the same time, Boswell moves readers beyond the classroom, candidly sharing the experiences that have shaped his own writing life. A chance encounter in a hotel bar leads to a fascinating glimpse into his imaginative process. And through the story of a boyhood adventure, Boswell details how important it is for writers to give themselves over to what he calls the “half-known world” of fiction, where surprise and meaning converge.

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