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A Passion for Narrative: A Guide to Writing Fiction
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A Passion for Narrative: A Guide to Writing Fiction

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  168 ratings  ·  19 reviews
This book is not intended to persuade you to take up writing novels or short stories.... Nor will it tell you how to market your stories. But it will take you through the problems facing any fiction writer and 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; Settin ...more
Paperback, Revised edition, 320 pages
Published January 18th 2001 by McClelland & Stewart (first published September 1st 1993)
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Well, I didn't do the exercises. (You can't tell me what to do, Jack Hodgins.)

Still, I think this would be a useful book to own. I loved reading all the excerpts from notable authors. (Some of my favorites!) Hodgins' own voice felt a little dry and teachery, but I can't quibble with his advice.
Aug 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I use this wonderful guide in my courses in the CW MFA optional residency program at UBC. I highly recommend it as a guide to writing.
Vic Cavalli
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've used this book in my university-level Creative Writing classes for 16 years, and over the years I've not received a desk copy of any other text that can take its place. I supplement it with John Gardner's On Becoming a Novelist, but it remains the concrete foundation in all of my second-year courses. Why? Because Jack shares his experience and opinions on all of the most important issues facing any writer, but he never insists on his theory or method. Instead, by presenting a rich array of ...more
Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing-guides
I didn’t want to judge this book by its cover. But the jacket painting (A Tale from the Decameron by JW Waterhouse) depicts a group of passively seated young females who seem enthralled by the words of a young male storyteller. So the book’s cover reflects its author Jack Hodgins’s old-fashioned approach.

He’s written one of those handbooks that stand in for an actual course (of the sort he’s taught for decades), containing so many exercises that if you were to try them all you’d have no time to
Nov 14, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
My sister bought me this book. She got it for 30p in a library sale. Thanks, sis. ;) However, the fact that it was unceremoniously cast out of my local library system suggests it has not been well loved. That’s a shame, since, as books-about-writing go, it’s not a bad one.

The book’s Unique Selling Point (i.e. what makes it vaaaguely different from the thousands of others books-about-writing) is that it quotes extensively from authors. This includes both excerpts from novels and short stories, pl
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Picked this guy up after browsing creative writing workshops and their accompanying syllabi. I enjoyed this. You will like this book too if you're a writer interested in learning about narrative from an author's perspective. I've only read Aspects of the Novel, and Related Writings by E.M. Forster previously, and I enjoyed it a lot too. This guide may not do anything for those familiar with the basics but for those who aren't, I highly recommend a read. It's an introductory guide that does not s ...more
J.L. Slipak
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a book that I have on my writing resource shelf that I often refer to for inspiration and/or help while writing a book. It discusses topics such as: writing good sentences, finding story ideas that are meant for you to write, plot, setting, character, structure, point of view, and voice. It also goes into using metaphors, symbols and allusions correctly and when. Towards the end of the book, it discusses the tedious but necessary process of revising. You get brief notes on fiction writer ...more
C. Chambers
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
This was a little less accessible compared to some other writing books I have read recently. That being said, it works well with teaching the staples and the necessary flow of narrative and story-telling.
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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 teachin
Kathy Stinson
Apr 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Whenever I come back to this book, Jack Hodgins and other writers he quotes have something to say that helps me with my current writing project. I guess I've been learning since last time I read it though, because I found myself just nodding more often than I experienced startling moments of epiphany this time round. JH presents so many viewpoints that any writer is bound to feel validated in how they approach the writing of fiction, and to have some new idea to consider.
Steve Goodyear
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book--Hodgins drew on a wealth of experience, noticeably polished over years of revising his ideas as he worked with students. I found his style open and supportive, and I liked how he constantly found ways to include other perspectives on topics or ideas, making a well-rounded exposition into the possibilities of fiction writing.
Debbie Bateman
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have a large collection of books about writing fiction. This is the most valuable. Jack Hodgins reviews prevalent thinking, adds his insight and analysis, outlines effective exercises, and points to excellent examples in literature. My only regret is that I haven't been referring to this book more often ... but at least that is something can change starting now.
Mar 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I liked the specific instructions, which help direct writing practice, and the specific examples from various well-known authors - also the recommended further reading lists. This is a get-down-to-work-and-start-here kind of book. That's what I like. Stephen King's "On Writing" is like that, too - and also good. Lots of resources in this one book alone.
Kat Duncombe
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Helpful and an easy read. The exercises are great, too.
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've read this book for a creative writing class, and it's a great one. Good clear logical advice through good clear writing. Not slow-going or boring to read. Practical and illuminating.
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you want to write or are only interested in the process, this is a good book to have on hand.
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Instructional book on the craft of writing. Chapters divided into logical segments. Useful exercises. A good book to use as a reference.
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Novelist and short story writer Jack Hodgins lives on Vancouver Island where until recently he taught fiction writing at the University of Victoria. Raised in the small rural community of Merville in the Comox Valley, he graduated with a B.Ed from the University of British Columbia, and taught high school in Nanaimo between 1961 and 1981. He was a Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa bet ...more

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