Jane AlisonMar 31, 2021
Meander, Spiral, Explode
Design and Pattern in Narrative
Jane Alison's Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative (Catapult, 2019) is a fascinating tour through a wide range of narrative structures that are inspired by forms in the natural world. As Jane Alison writes, "For centuries there's been one path through fiction we're most likely to travel--one we're actually told to follow--and that's the dramatic arc: a situation arises, grows tense, reaches a peak, subsides. . . . But: something that swells and tautens until climax, then collapses? Bit masculo-sexual, no? So many other patterns run through nature, tracing other deep motions in life. Why not draw on them, too?" Whether the meandering path of a snail, the spiral shape of a shell, or the expanding energy of an explosion, these forms can liberate writers from the strictures of linear, Aristotelian narrative. Part memoir, part craft book, and part manifesto, Meander, Spiral, Explode is sure to interest fiction writers, but also playwrights, poets, and anyone interested in formal experimentation in storytelling.
Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts.