Spit Delaney's Island

The Invention
of the World

The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne

The Barclay Family Theatre

The Honorary Patron

Left Behind in
Squabble Bay

Innocent Cities

Over Forty in
Broken Hill

A Passion for Narrative

The Macken Charm

Broken Ground


Damage Done
by the Storm

The Master of Happy Endings

Other Publications

Cadillac Cathedral

On Writing Fiction  


A Passion for Narrative
A Guide to Writing Fiction (1993)
Jack Hodgins

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; Setting; Character; Plot; The Architecture of Story; Point of View and Voice; Metaphors, Symbols and Allusions; Revising.

As an award-winning novelist and short-story writer Jack Hodgins is uniquely qualified to preach what he practices. As a trained teacher, he has been giving creating writing lessons for more than forty years, at high schools and universities and to writers' summer schools. With its scores of examples of first-class writing this lively, truly fascinating book will almost certainly make you a better writer; it is guaranteed to make you a better reader.

(from the cover of the McClelland & Stewart expanded edition)


The Natural Storyteller: an introduction
Getting Started: Finding Stories Meant for You
One Good Sentence After Another
Setting: "A Plausible Abode"
Character: "Precious Particles"
Plot: A Causal Chain
Structure: The Architecture of Fiction
Point of View and Voice: "Where I'm Calling From"
Making Connections: Metaphors, Symbols, and Allusions
Breathing from Some Other World: The Story of a Story
A Postscript: And Now What?
Afterword to the 2001 Edition
Brief Notes on Fiction Writers Quoted or Discussed

click here to read a sample page


"Jack Hodgins's love of writing positively shines through this book along with his respect for students of creative writing. Hodgins is not setting out any rule here, but offers 'some thoughts about necessary skills if you want to write.' He relies heavily on the opinions of other writers, quoting from them often to convey their writing experiences, to reveal the mysterious nature of writing and to illustrate how visions can vary.

"What a refreshing relief to see the words of Canadian writers used as examples! Among the work of many others, Hodgins uses some of his own fiction in the last chapter's essay on the evolution of story, character and fictional reality. His extensive lists of recommended reading are of high quality, and the writing exercises are particularly imaginative. He suggests a technique for revisions that is worth the price of his book ...." Rating: *****

Canadian Author, Summer 1995


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