BRIDGET WHELAN writer

August is archive month. Posts from the past

A story is more like a house than a journey…Alice Munro QUOTES FOR WRITERS (and people who like quotes)

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A story is not like a road to follow … it’s more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you.
Alice Munro

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15 comments on “A story is more like a house than a journey…Alice Munro QUOTES FOR WRITERS (and people who like quotes)

  1. E A M Harris
    March 12, 2017

    An interesting idea, but I’m not sure about the ‘wandering back and forth’ bit: it’s not how I feel the experience of a story. For me it’s more like a show house (National Trust perhaps?) where there’s a preordained way round the building, but different views from windows and proceeding at your own pace.

    • bridget whelan
      March 12, 2017

      I like the house image for all kinds of reasons, not least because when you’re writing the beginning stages do seem like gathering the building bricks and motar together and writing that first draft is a way of making it all work together, knowing that you can still knock down the dodgy extension and add a new door. But wandering or being led by a guide…National Trust or a house you’re allowed to explore? Hmm, I’ll have to think about that.

  2. Cynthia Reyes
    March 12, 2017

    Well said.

    • bridget whelan
      March 12, 2017

      Glad you like the quote Cynthia – not all great writers are able to talk about writing and stories in a way that offers new insights into the process but Alice Munro can.

  3. paulandruss
    March 12, 2017

    Bridget…. brilliant analogy… I do get the wandering back and forth. I find that when I am writing I rush to certain points in the story: where I am comfortable, or the view is the most attractive. after the first (rushed) draft I go back (and forth) to the less glamorous parts of the story where the working nuts and bolts are and find myself exploring the nooks and crannies.

    And thinking about it I do the same when I re-read favourite novels

    • bridget whelan
      March 12, 2017

      Wandering as a writer yes,but as a reader I’m not so sure (or at least my experience of reading). I don’t want to stretch the house image too far but when you’re reading and you are in the hands of a writer you trust, you know that there are parts you can’t visit – the private suite of rooms perhaps in a grand house open to the public – but they are as real as if you had been given a tour, just as the house will carry on existing after you leave. With a so-so writer you’re given a drawing of a house, not the house itself.

  4. Kate McClelland
    March 12, 2017

    Reblogged this on Kate McClelland.

  5. Let's CUT the Crap!
    March 12, 2017

    An interesting perspective. 😀

  6. wendyunsworth
    March 12, 2017

    I love this analogy. Since starting to use Scrivener for my writing I would say this applies to me even more. With all my chapters and scenes in chapters laid out on a cork board they are very like rooms which I can revisit, check on progress or even re-design.

  7. Darlene
    March 12, 2017

    I love Alice Munroe. I think this concept is perfect!

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