“Knowing what people are expecting allows you to subvert the trope. Expectation is its own red herring, built right into your reader.”
Stuart Turton, author of the brilliant The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and newly released The Devil and The Dark Water, admits, “I’m obsessed by the structure of novels.” He particularly likes “books that cross genres and mess with the traditional way stories are told.”
Here Turton explains how he played with crossing genres to create the effects he wanted in his two novels.
This is a topic that fascinates me. Here are two blog posts I’ve written that deal with the topic from a reader’s rather than a writer’s perspective:
- How Narrative Structure Works in Fiction: And How It Differs from Plot
- Review: “The Blinds” by Adam Sternbergh
There’s a lot said and written about the importance of introductions in fiction, but not so much about endings. And for good reason: to discuss the adequacy or inadequacy of an ending, you have to give away the entire contents of the book.
Here Ron Charles, book reviewer for The Washington Post, takes on this subject. He cites a survey of Goodreads reviews done by the online retailer OnBuy.com , which yielded a list of the Top 12 Most Disappointing Endings. Charles also solicited comments from Post readers about the novel endings they’ve found most disappointing. His conclusion: “If there’s any common thread, it’s that the endings that offend us most appear in the books we love most.”
And while you’re reading Charles’s article, take advantage of the link offered whereby you can sign up for his weekly Book World newsletter. It lands in my inbox every Friday and is one of the highlights of my literary week.
Publisher’s Weekly offers the scoop on “the forthcoming tabletop game Mother of Frankenstein,” which “combines aspects of immersive theater, escape rooms, board games, puzzles, role-playing games, and parlor games in one package, making for a 15-hour playing experience.”
Good news indeed, as it seems we’re in for an extended period of pandemic isolation.
How have I not heard of this?
Elisa Shoenberger reports on the annual Tournament of Books, which takes place in March. “It’s March Madness but for literature.”
From the U.K. Guardian: “We know the heyday of the ghost story mostly as the province of men like MR James and Charles Dickens. But archivists are finding that some of the finest exponents were women.”
Read why the women pioneers in ghost stories who have been “effectively erased from history over the last century.”
This article on “the concentration of power in UK publishing” reports on the lack of diversity in the Booker Prize.
Author Jamie Harris writes that “The Booker is steeped in Britain’s colonial history” and is seldom awarded to writers published outside of London:
In a country where publishing is so concentrated in the hands of just a few conglomerates who have acquired some of Britain’s most successful small presses, the chances of British novelists who are neither English, nor published by major London publishers, winning seems to be getting smaller.
Reading comprehension, defined as the “ability to process and retain information from texts,” is something we usually think of as happening to children in their early years of school. But here Christine Ro reports on some recent research into enhancing reading comprehension for adults and offers some suggestions for doing so.
Unsurprisingly, some of her suggestions involve slowing down while reading and actively engaging with the text, for example, by annotating, all examples of slow reading.
© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown