Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"A Passion for Narrative"

One of the favourite books on my resource shelf is A Passion for Narrative, by Jack Hodgins. Subtitled, A Guide for Writing Fiction, it was published by McClelland & Stewart in 1993.
Although I read it years ago, today I still dive into it for help with certain aspects of my story. Lately, I've been re-reading the chapter on plots.

The chapter details a wide variety of plot categories--something I find rather daunting--from one Professor Norman Friedman. I love Hodgins' conclusion to all this.

He writes, "Rather than think of plot as a prescribed formula (or choice of formulae) to which you must make your material "fit," I suggest you think of it as a general pattern floating somewhere in the back of your consciousness as you write . . . Let the combination of your material and your hopes for it, rather than anyone's list of characteristics, guide your story's progress."

I find that comforting.

Most helpful to me, at the end of the chapter Hodgins provides some questions to ask myself about the plot, now that I've reached the first-draft stage. These thoughtful questions give me an idea of why it might not be working.

Write on!


Willow said...

I love to read books about writing. They get me revved up (plus the helpful ideas, of course)! This sounds like a good one. Thanks for the suggestion.

Peggy Dymond Leavey said...

Willow, have you read "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott? It's subtitled "Some Instructions on Writing and Life." It's wonderful, full of inspiration for us writers.