Multidisciplinary Study of Fiction Writing

Author: Bloor, Anthony
Models of the writing process are used in teaching, research, and the design of software tools for writers. This study constructs a model of fiction writing. It approaches the subject in an investigative fashion, looking firstly at the range of models in current use. The result is a basic model of writing, which encapsulates the findings of empirical research into writing behavior. It shows that current theories of writing make assumptions about language, whose roots can be traced to Chomsky’s transformational grammar and its forebears. To add specificity to the basic model, the study turns to Saussure’s view of language as a system of signs, and pursues the idea that semiology and literary theory can be used to develop theories of writing as well as of reading. It discusses work by Jakobson, Genette, Todorov and Barthes, and proposes a hypothesis about the ways in which fiction writers create meanings. Written for readers in the humanities, it will be of equal value to any scholar who is interested in the theory and practice of writing.


“… a major contribution to the psychology of writing. It surveys and extends research from the past twenty years into how people write and the structure of written text. The book’s particular contribution is to draw together literary theory, linguistics and cognitive psychology into a new and accessible account of how fiction writers think and work. The book will be interest to students of literature and psychology as well as to practicing and aspiring writers of fiction.” – Prof. Mike Sharples, Research Chair in Education Technology, The University of Birmingham, England

“… as Bloor writes, models are crucial. Implicit in any conception of writing, they have serious implications both for the teaching of writing and for the design of software that might be employed in that project. Growing from this assertion is a meticulous recursive exploration of theory and literary product that incorporates the work of such theorists as Hayes and Flower, Sharples and Pemberton, Freud, Chomsky, Saussure and others that yields a flexible, comprehensive model of the fictional text and the processes involved in its generation.” – Dr. Phebe Davidson, University of South Carolina, Aiken

"This highly theoretical book is written in an accessible and clear style ... this is an significant study." - Consciousness, Literature and the Arts

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Foreword by Gert Rijlaarsdam
1. Introduction
2. Models and Modelling
3. Writing Behavior
4. Cognitive Models of Writing
5. Planning, Thinking, and Models of Writing
6. Linguistics and Models of Writing
7. Narration and Description in Fiction Writing
8. Story Memory and the Symbolic
9. Naming and Problem Solving
10. A Cognitive Model of Fiction Writing
References; Author Indices (fiction and non-fiction); Subject Index