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Fb2 Monkeys with Typewriters: How to Write Fiction and Unlock the Secret Power of Stories ePub

by Scarlett Thomas

Category: Writing Research and Publishing Guides
Subcategory: Reference
Author: Scarlett Thomas
ISBN: 0857863789
ISBN13: 978-0857863782
Language: English
Publisher: Canongate UK; Main edition (October 10, 2012)
Pages: 488
Fb2 eBook: 1728 kb
ePub eBook: 1315 kb
Digital formats: rtf azw mbr txt

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Overall, Monkeys with Typewriters has some interesting and useful ideas about writing, as well as a lot of info that I could've done without. If you're looking to be inspired to write, this is probably not the right book for you. If, however, you want to learn about writing throughout the ages and one novelist's ideas about writing a novel, then you could do a lot worse. Either way, I know what I'm looking forward to the most after reading this book: Scarlett Thomas' next novel. 12 people found this helpful.

Whether you want to write or not, Monkeys with Typewriters is the kind of book that renews your enthusiasm for reading in general, a book that believes - and encourages its readers to believe - that great fiction matters follow The Thread. Scarlett Thomas is Reader in Creative Writing at Kent University, where she has taught since 2004. She is the bestselling author of The End of Mr. Y, PopCo and seven other novels.

However, for Thomas, fiction unlocked itself only once she recognized the importance of an author's individual experience and one's willingness to ask questions, not simply provide solutions. She deems the communication of one's humanity as the key to making a piece relatable, and Thomas does nothing less in her own work. With startling and original insights into how we construct stories, Monkeys with Typewriters is a creative writing book like no other. It will show you how to not only write, but also to a finer degree, how to read.

Scarlett Thomas (born 5 July 1972 in Hammersmith) is an English author who writes contemporary postmodern fiction. Monkeys with Typewriters: How to Write Fiction and Unlock the Secret Power of Stories (2012). She has published ten novels, including The End of Mr. Y and PopCo, as well as the Worldquake series of children's books, and Monkeys With Typewriters, a book on how to unlock the power of storytelling. She is Professor of Creative Writing & Contemporary Fiction at the University of Kent.

Scarlett Thomas, Monkeys with Typewriters: How to Write Fiction and Unlock the Secret Power of Stories : I started giving lectures on creative writing. There are a limited number of plots that we use to tell stories (I think there are eight, but other people argue for one, two, three, five or seven), but an almost unlimited supply of nouns and verbs we can use to create the characters and imagery that make our stories mean something to people. I realised that these essays were beginning to come together in one big document, and as I refined this document further, I finally noticed that I was writing a book. The whole process has taken seven years.

How To Write Fiction And Unlock The Secret Power Of Stories. Exploring the great plots from Plato to The Matrix and from Tolstoy to Toy Story, this is a book for anyone who wants to unlock any narrative and learn to create their own. With startling and original insights into how we construct stories, this is a creative writing book like no other. It will show you how to read and write better.

Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Monkeys with Typewriters: How to Write Fiction . Stories are everywhere

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Scarlett Thomas is Reader in Creative Writing at Kent University, where she has taught since 2004. Stories are everywhere

Scarlett Thomas is Reader in Creative Writing at Kent University, where she has taught since 2004. Stories are everywhere.

A manual for reading and writing better that explores the great plots from Plato to The Matrix and Tolstoy to Toy Story, from the acclaimed author of The End of Mr. Y and Our Tragic Universe  

Exploring how fiction works, this manual shows you how you can learn to understand it well enough to crack open any fictional narrative, and, if you like, start creating your own. Have you ever had your heart broken, or broken someone else's heart? Have you ever won an argument but later realized you were wrong? Have you ever tripped in public or spilled wine on someone else's carpet? Have you ever tried to help someone who didn't want to be helped—or even someone who did? Have you ever been in trouble, big or small? Have you ever felt trapped? Have you ever gossiped, felt bad about it, and then found that you've been the subject of gossip yourself? Have you ever basically felt like a chimp in a pair of jeans, caught up in endless drama and with no idea of how the universe works? This is an ode to secret power of stories, and a guide to cracking those powers open. 

Comments to eBook Monkeys with Typewriters: How to Write Fiction and Unlock the Secret Power of Stories
Connorise
A little background: I recently (well, two years ago now) became a huge fan of Scarlett Thomas. So far, I've read five of her novels (The End of Mr. Y, Bright Young Things, and Our Tragic Universe being my favorites); I'm planning on reading her three crime novels, which she doesn't seem to be very proud of, soon. I'm also a writer. I've finished two novels and am working on my third now. (None published, because I don't think they're good enough to be seen by other people yet.) When she announced that she had a new book coming out, I was hoping for a new novel, but a book about writing also sounded interesting. What aspiring writer wouldn't want some tips from their favorite novelist? Well, let's just say that her fiction is a lot more interesting than her non-fiction. The first part of this book, "Theory," was only mildly interesting. In fact, it mostly felt like I was reading a textbook on creative writing. The chapters in this part talk about Plato, Aristotle, tragedy, Russian fairy tales, and Thomas' idea of eight basic plots. I don't particularly care what either Plato or Aristotle have to say about fiction writing, but their chapters were a joy to read when compared to the chapter on Russian fairy tales. This chapter talks about Vladimir Propp's work in identifying 31 "functions" in Russian fairy tales, like: the villain is defeated, the hero returns, and the hero is married and ascends the throne. If you're interested in more, Thomas provides a list of all 31 functions Propp identified. Not only was this chapter utterly dull, Thomas failed to convince me that this had anything to do with fiction writing, especially if one is interested in writing novels.

Part two of the book, "Practice," is where things finally get interesting. The first chapter in this section, on how to have ideas, was a complete delight, especially after the dry tone from the first part. Here, Thomas finally talks about her ways of writing and plotting, with examples from her own work. Other topics covered in this part: styles of narration, characterization, writing a good sentence, and beginning to write a novel. The only chapter in this part that I found painful to read was the one about characterization. It's interesting at first, as Thomas explores how method acting as developed by Stanislavski can be useful not just to actors, but fiction writers as well. But then this chapter goes on and on and on, which I found strange since I thought that one of the things her last novel (Our Tragic Universe) lacked was believable characters. I really liked the chapter on writing a good sentence until she felt the need to show examples from the work of Nicola Barker, who I think is a terrible writer. I tried reading her novel Clear, based on Thomas' recommendation, and absolutely hated it. I'm still kind of pissed about the time I spent reading the first 55 pages of that novel and the six bucks I spent on it. If Thomas had just used an example and left it at that, that would be fine with me. I'd say in my head "I think that's terrible writing" and move on, but Thomas keeps talking about Barker's work, trying to convince the reader that even though it's breaking all the rules she teaches in Monkeys with Typewriters, that it's still good writing. And then she shares this gem: "I tried teaching Nicola Barker novels, only for my students - who had all been trained to fear the adverb - to declare them 'overwritten' and 'annoying'." I've never been trained to fear adverbs and I'd say those are accurate words to describe Barker's writing. Frankly, this section of the chapter made me think that Thomas was trying to convince herself more than anyone else of how good Barker's writing was. I'm guessing they're friends or something. Thankfully, she also shares examples from some good writing, like The Bell Jar and The God of Small Things. The last chapter, on beginning to write a novel, was another favorite. Here Thomas shares her thoughts on when to write and when not to. I can't say I agreed with all of it, but it was interesting none-the-less to see how another novelist went about it. One thing that I found especially useful and will incorporate into my own writing is the practice of focusing on one scene at a time.

Who would I recommend this book to? I think fans of Scarlett Thomas who are also aspiring writers (especially of literary fiction), but haven't really thought about or done much writing, would find it the most useful. For those of us who've been around the block awhile, there's probably not much new here. I know I won't be coming back to this book often, if ever. I did find Thomas' insistence on authenticity and originality very admirable, even though I disagreed with her assessment of genre fiction. So why four stars? If I just considered my thoughts on this book and its usefulness to me, I'd give it three stars. I gave it an extra star because I do realize that I might not be the ideal audience for this work. And the second part (this book is quite lengthy, clocking in at 480 pages) really saved it for me. I just wished she'd have focused more on talking about her own novels throughout.

Overall, Monkeys with Typewriters has some interesting and useful ideas about writing, as well as a lot of info that I could've done without. If you're looking to be inspired to write, this is probably not the right book for you. If, however, you want to learn about writing throughout the ages and one novelist's ideas about writing a novel, then you could do a lot worse. Either way, I know what I'm looking forward to the most after reading this book: Scarlett Thomas' next novel.
Ckelond
Ms. Thomas's book about writing forced me to think about POV and plot and characterization and narrative structure in a manner different to other texts on this subject. She never says: do this! Rather, she says, Think deeply about what you are trying to do, and then she shares some darned good thoughts about what she and other authors do, and why. Some have criticized her use of Propp, et. al., as not being useful. I question that. Ms. Thomas engages the problematic of "plot" as though it matters. Why wouldn't we want to delve into the notion of plot, of structure, of narrative? No, we probably cannot use the ideas presented as a checklist so we can dash off the next "Twenty Shades of Purple" or whatever it is.
She does not offer a typical "follow these guidelines and you can write a novel!"; then again, other people have written fine tutorials (all here on Amazon! :-)). I think this text is more a meditation on what one is doing when one is writing and how one ought to engage the project of writing. I found it well worth my time and money.
The chapter on POV was excellent. She is very much in touch with the "meta"-fictional elements of fiction (or of writing), and, truly, sometimes one needs to sit back with a glass of one's favorite beverage and think about this stuff, and think some more.
My only regret is that I cannot attend her lectures! Well, okay, I could attend her lectures, but the travel and lodging expenses, right?
Alister
Graduate level discussion on how stories are constructed and why some things work and others do not. This really gets you thinking about your plot and how it relates to other literature. While her language is very accessible and fun to read, she discusses theory and big ideas. This is not a practical how-to and if you are looking for that, this may seem boring and irrelevant. But there is a great deal of practical advice here. I loved this book and I refer to it often.
Brightcaster
I love it, its very good for someone who wants to start writing, easy to read and great teaching techniques.
Endieyab
Too wordy and boring. Too much rhetoric. Not enough examples.
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