Cover image for A passion for narrative : a guide for writing fiction
A passion for narrative : a guide for writing fiction
Hodgins, Jack, 1938-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, [1993]

Physical Description:
298 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
"A Douglas Gibson book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN3355 .H562 1993 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PN3355 .H562 1993 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This book is not intended to persuade you to take up writing novels or short stories -- "It's going to be a lot of work," Jack Hodgins warns. Nor will it tell you how to market your stories. But it will take you through the problems facing any fiction writer and show you how some of the best writers in English have solved them. The chapters are clear and comprehensive: Finding Your Own Stories; One Good Sentence After Another -- on the skills of writing well; Setting; Character -- how to make your characters come alive; Plot; Structure -- "The Architecture of Story"; Point of View and Voice; Metaphors, Symbols and Allusions; Revising -- an all-important chapter that also deals with the impact of writing on a computer; The Story of a Story -- where Jack Hodgins talks of his own experience with one of his most famous stories; and the final chapter, And Now What? -- Creating Your Own Workshop, which builds on the fact that every chapter in the book contains writing exercises to help you work away at home at "the mysterious business of writing fiction." As an award-winning novelist and short-story writer Jack Hodgins is uniquely qualified to preach what he practises. As a trained teacher, he has been giving creative lessons for thirty years, at high schools and universities and to writers' summer schools. In recent years his creative writing courses at the University of Victoria have become discreetly famous. Now, anyone who buys this book can share in the experience of learning fiction-writing from a master. With its scores of examples of first-class writing this lively, truly fascinating book will almost certainly make you be atter writer; it is guaranteed to make you a better reader.

Author Notes

Jack Hodgins grew up in a logging town on northern Vancouver Island, a remote area he has described as separate from all the rest of Canada, including its literary traditions. In order to shape fiction about this region with its scattered, lonely towns and often eccentric inhabitants, Hodgins has drawn on various traditions in addition to the Canadian, such as the Gothic techniques employed by William Faulkner and the magic realism of Latin American writers.

Hodgins's first novel, The Invention of the World (1977), uses contemporary characters to re-create the mythic birth of Donal Keneally, who led Irish villagers to establish a colony in western Canada. The next novel is also reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude; in The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne, or, A Word or Two on Those Port Annie Miraclesor, (1980), a tidal wave washes ashore in western Canada a ship from Peru and a "Peruvian seabird." This odd occurrence sets off a series of bizarre events that the locals accept without question. The Honorary Patron (1987) continues the saga of northern Canada's lonely reaches; this time the central character returns to the area after a long absence and brings about peculiar happenings. Hodgins has also published two volumes of short stories in the same mode as his novels.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

The Natural Storyteller: An Introductionp. 9
Getting Started: Finding Stories Meant for Youp. 23
One Good Sentence After Anotherp. 45
Setting: "A Plausible Abode"p. 71
Character: "Precious Particles"p. 99
Plot: A Causal Chainp. 125
Structure: The Architecture of Fictionp. 151
Point of View and Voice: "Where I'm Calling From"p. 181
Making Connections: Metaphors, Symbols, and Allusionsp. 205
Revisingp. 233
Breathing from Some Other World: The Story of a Storyp. 255
A Postscript: And Now What?p. 271
Afterword to the 2001 Editionp. 283
Brief Notes on Fiction Writers Quoted or Discussedp. 303
Sources of Quotationsp. 308
Acknowledgementsp. 316