Highlights of the Storycraft Blog

DSC04038Once upon a time, I kept a blog that some fiction writers and other story nerds found useful. It was called “Storycraft,” and it was dedicated to analyzing specific aspects of the craft as applied to classic and contemporary works of fiction. That blog is now permanently off-line. There may or may not be a book at some point. However, I’ve preserved a few of my personal highlights, which you are welcome to read if you’re that kind of person by clicking on any of the following links. Enjoy! — Tim

A Masterpiece of Dread: Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth

Repetition & Resonance in Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms

Character Portraits in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall

Language as the Ghost of Meaning: Cormac McCarthy’s Amazing Sentences

Jungian Archetypes in Fiction: John Fowles’ “The Ebony Tower.”

Exuberance, Character Sympathy, and Redemption in Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina

Dramatic Irony in Fiction: Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See

When is a Prologue Necessary? Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife

Mixed Points of View in Philipp Meyer’s The Son

Advantages of the Close Third POV: Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome

Fiction’s Inner Landscape: Point of View & Interiority in Jim Harrison’s Legends of the Fall

Reaching for the Sublime: Image Systems in Fiction

Character Leitmotif in Robert Stone’s Dog Soldiers

Recipe for a Page-Turner: George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones

Peter Carey’s Tuning Fork: Subtext vs Portrayed Emotion in True History of the Kelly Gang

Moving through Time and Space with Patrick O’Brian

Truer than Truth: Life Experience Transformed into Story in Alden Jones’ Unaccompanied Minors

Backstory and Flashback in Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies

Going Big: The Prophetic Voice in Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder”

Beauty and Desire in James Joyce’s “Araby”

On Ticking Clocks and McGuffins: Using Genre Tropes in Fiction

Tolkien: Islands of Light in a Sea of Darkness

Fiction’s Inner Landscape: Irresistible Interiority in The Journals of John Cheever

John Le Carré: A Master Storyteller Creates a Character

Backstory Entry Hatches in John Le Carré’s The Tailor of Panama: A Partial Taxonomy

Here’s a list of additional topics that I will republish by request. Let me know if there are any of the following you’d like to see posted here, and I’m happy to oblige:

Character Creation by Metaphor: Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time

Landscape as Redemption in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony

Genesis of a Villain: Harnessing the Subconscious in Paul Bowles’ “In the Red Room”

Pullman’s Golden Compass: The Mimicry of Perception

Shadow Description, Image Systems, and Narrative Drive in Tim Johnston’s Descent

The Power of Memory: Backstory, Flashback, and the Lost World in James Welch’s The Heartsong of Charging Elk

Negative Capability in Fiction: The Strange Magnetism of Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!

The Objective-Correlative & Characterization: Graham Greene’s The Honorary Consul

Setting as Character in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

Multiple First Person Point of View: The Pros and Cons (Matthew Kneale’s English Passengers)

Effective and Ineffective Character Description in Annie Proulx’s Wyoming Stories

Character Sympathy in E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India

Why Write Novels, Anyway?

First Person, Present Tense: Robert Bausch’s Far As the Eye Can Seehe Journals of John Cheever

Recurring Imagery and the Objective-Correlative in Tobias Wolff’s “All Ahead of Them”

Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and James Wood’s New Yorker Review: The Folly of Pugilistic Literary Criticism

Toward Omniscience: Voice and POV in Larry Brown’s Joe

Vivid Characterization in Short Fiction: Norman Rush’s Whites

Robert Stone’s Characters: The Stories

How to Build a Simple Plot: Chris Offutt’s “Out of the Woods”

A Triumph Over Chaos: The Remarkable Story-World of John Cheever

Excruciating Dramatic Tension in a Short Fiction Masterpiece: Paul Bowles’ “A Distant Episode”

A Riveting Ugliness: Point of View and Character Sympathy in Paul Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky

Fiction’s Inner Landscape: Point of View and Interiority in Jim Harrison’s Legends of the Fall

The Turning Point: Plot Movement in Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls

First Person Retrospective: Point of View in Larry Watson’s Montana 1948

Why Humanity Needs Fiction

The Art of the Double-Entendre: Ian McEwan’s Amsterdam

Character Portrayals in Catcher in the Rye

Slippage, Daydreams: Killer Foreshadowing in Thomas McGuane’s Ninety-Two in the Shade

Drama in Storytelling: Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men

Misdirection and the Trick Ending: Rick Bass’s “The Myths of Bears”

What Literature Can Do That Film Cannot

Lighting Fuses: Dramatic Tension in Two Early Faulkner Stories

Inspiration vs Cold-Eyed Calculation: Hemingway Revisited

Slanted Description in the Short Stories of Denis Johnson

A Very Palpable Hit: The Uses of Dialog in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

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