Passion for Narrative

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The impulse to shape language into coherent stories is shared by all people; cultures define common ground in the stories, legends, and myths - some written, some oral - of their storytellers. But the fiction writer has to shape the natural storytelling impulse into a printed book that readers will enjoy. Using a series of linked exercises, novelist and teacher Jack Hodgins challenges writers to address the central questions of their craft, including the user of setting, building a character, the difference ...
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Overview

The impulse to shape language into coherent stories is shared by all people; cultures define common ground in the stories, legends, and myths - some written, some oral - of their storytellers. But the fiction writer has to shape the natural storytelling impulse into a printed book that readers will enjoy. Using a series of linked exercises, novelist and teacher Jack Hodgins challenges writers to address the central questions of their craft, including the user of setting, building a character, the difference between a plot and series of events, the narrator's persona, metaphors and symbols, and revising. Readable, encouraging, and inspiring, the book contains deliberately useful quotes from other writers, including Margaret Atwood, Jane Austen, John Cheever, Laura Esquivel, William Faulkner, Vladimir Nabokov, Eudora Welty, and many, many more.
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Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312110420
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1994
  • Edition description: 1st U.S. ed
  • Pages: 304

Table of Contents

1 The Natural Storyteller: An Introduction 9
2 Getting Started: Finding Stories Meant for You 23
3 One Good Sentence After Another 45
4 Setting: "A Plausible Abode" 71
5 Character: "Precious Particles" 99
6 Plot: A Causal Chain 125
7 Structure: The Architecture of Fiction 151
8 Point of View and Voice: "Where I'm Calling From" 181
9 Making Connections: Metaphors, Symbols, and Allusions 205
10 Revising 233
11 Breathing from Some Other World: The Story of a Story 255
12 A Postscript: And Now What? 271
Brief Notes on Fiction Writers Quoted or Discussed 283
Sources of Quotations 288
Acknowledgements 296
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