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A Passion for Narrative: A Guide to Writing Fiction - Revised Edition [Paperback]

Jack Hodgins
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 18 2001
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.

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From Library Journal

Described as "a book of inspiration and practical exercises for fiction writers," this work examines all the aspects of writing, from getting started through setting, character, plot, structure, revision, and a final section entitled "And now what?" Novelist Hodgins identifies the range of options available at each stage; quoting other writers, many of whom are little known in this country, he makes this book a voyage of discovery. Grammar is not discussed, nor is motivation; Hodgins presumes both. He does not presume knowledge of the terminology of writing, though, and is careful to explain terms before discussing each concept. In each chapter, exercises and a reading list further illuminate the points discussed. Divided into discrete sections, this book can be used as a reference tool, but it should be read through once first. It's fair to say that while the text does lag at times, it never lags for long, and struggling novelists out there should find most of their conundrums addressed. Recommended. -Robert C. Moore, DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. Information Svces., Wilmington, Del.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jack Hodgins was born and raised on Vancouver Island. He taught Creative Writing at a number of Canadian universities, and retired from the University of Victoria in 2002.

He is the author of seven novels, including The Invention of the World; The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne, winner of the Governor General’s Award; The Macken Charm; Broken Ground, winner of the Ethel Wilson Prize for Fiction; and Distance; and three books of short stories, Spit Delaney’s Island, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award; The Barclay Family Theatre; and Damage Done by the Storm. He is also the author of A Passion for Narrative: A Guide for Writing Fiction.

Hodgins has been awarded the Canada-Australia Prize, among many others, has received three honorary degrees, and has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Those Who Care About Writing Well Feb. 11 2013
By Debra Purdy Kong TOP 500 REVIEWER
There are plenty of how-to writing books on the market, many of them focused on writing page-turning novels that will land a publisher and sell tons of copies. Certainly, they have their place in the market, but once in a while writers should get back to basics and read a book that is all about writing well. A Passion For Narrative is a great choice.

Jack Hodgins is not only a highly regarded Canadian author known for his Vancouver Island settings and wonderful storytelling, but he's been teaching writing for years. The man knows what he's talking about. His chapters on character, setting, and plot are excellent, with terrific examples to stress points.

Hodgins asks the reader to do the exercises offered at the end of each chapter, and supplies a recommended reading list emphasizing each chapter's topic. While these exercises will benefit new writers or offer advanced writers new ways to look at their work, there are so many exercises that I doubt readers will try half of them. I reviewed the original 1993 edition, which was revised in 2001. Even since 2001, I think most writers are more impatient than ever to be published, which is a shame. In the push to become savvy marketers with twenty self-published e-books to sell, the concept of writing well, just for the joy of it, has become lost in the shuffle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
We are using it as a text in our Creative Writing course, and it's excellent. You'll learn a lot about the basics of writing fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting started in Writing Nov. 10 2011
By AJR
As a new Writer, this book is at first discouraging and overwhelming. But as you read it, the veil of narrative writing starts to lift and you begin to glimpse the methods, tricks and styles that create great writing. You also learn to avoid the pitfalls. A must read for budding novelists.
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