A study of the main elements of fiction, such as narrative, detail, characterization, dialogue, realism, and style. It takes the machinery of story-telling apart to ask a series of fundamental questions: What do we mean when we say we 'know' a fictional character? What constitutes a 'telling' detail? And, when is a metaphor successful?
James Wood has been a staff writer and book critic at the New Yorker since 2007. In 2009, he won the National Magazine Award for reviews and criticism. He was the chief literary critic at the Guardian from 1992 to 1995, and a senior editor at the New Republic from 1995 to 2007. He has published a number of books with Cape, including How Fiction Works.