The Story That Teaches
You How To Write It is a simultaneous story and essay.
The story (on the verso (left) pages) is about graduate students
in love. The essay (on the recto (right) pages) is about the
structure of the story opposite, describing the techniques
used in composing each section. Both take as a starting point
Roland Barthes's S/Z and structuralist narratology.
The book is primarily a reference for innovative fiction writers:
fiction that makes it clear what the experiments actually are.
to turn literary criticism back into literature by showing how
analyses of novels might point the way to new forms. Unlike
science, experiments in art strive for irreproducible results,
so the methods deployed here can be used to compose entirely
different sorts of work. George Lakoff's theory of metaphor
is used to design characters, and
music composition is used as a way to understand writing. The
story was handed out in a graduate writing workshop led by
David Foster Wallace, and student comments appear in footnotes,
providing an additional layer of interpretation, as well as
a commentary on the workshop experience itself.
6 x 9 inches, perfect bound, 80 pages. ISBN 0-9724244-0-7. $10. Cover art by Scott Westgard.