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The Art of Fiction

af John Gardner

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2,045267,825 (4.04)23
This classic guide, from the renowned novelist and professor, has helped transform generations of aspiring writers into masterful writers--and will continue to do so for many years to come.     John Gardner was almost as famous as a teacher of creative writing as he was for his own works. In this practical, instructive handbook, based on the courses and seminars that he gave, he explains, simply and cogently, the principles and techniques of good writing. Gardner's lessons, exemplified with detailed excerpts from classic works of literature, sweep across a complete range of topics--from the nature of aesthetics to the shape of a refined sentence. Written with passion, precision, and a deep respect for the art of writing, Gardner's book serves by turns as a critic, mentor, and friend. Anyone who has ever thought of taking the step from reader to writer should begin here.… (mere)
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Read chapter 1-4 for class and completed a few of the exercises. Gardner has a very traditional outlook on writing but the book is also very old. I would love to see a woman and man person of color write an updated modern take on this book especially with the references and examples. As a woc I have virtually no idea about a lot of the examples he used and the importance besides when he told me. I didn't like shakespeare or none of the old white male writers of classics. I find it boring and unrelatable and sometime plain horrid. I did agree with some things he stated but otherwise a god textbook or reference for writing. ( )
  Lavender3 | Dec 21, 2022 |
This was a great guide to writing with many lessons that I think would appeal to younger, and even more advanced, writers of all kinds. There is much to learn and Gardner manages to convey what he wants to say in such a tone like he is literally instructing before your very eyes. A good book for aspiring, and establishing, writers alike.

4 stars. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Apr 11, 2020 |
Duties, responsibilities and the author's obligation to tell the truth

The Art of Fiction - Notes on Craft for Young Writers
By John Gardner

One of the most interesting things about this book is how attitudes have changed in regards to what it means to be an author.

The Art of Fiction - Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner, was published in 1984, long before the advent of online platforms that make self-publishing free and easy to any and everyone.

This is not your "How to Write a Novel for Dummies" and Gardner definitely would not have supported "everyone's right to publish" as proclaimed by many indie authors and the entire self-publishing industry.

Gardner felt that aspiring to be an author was almost akin to a "higher calling" and required rigorous study and practice. As well as hard work and sacrifice such a career choice came with duties and responsibilities.

The most important of which is telling the truth, and not just getting facts right, but making sure your fiction is believable and not perceived by the reader as a lie. Foremost it must "affirm moral truths about human existence".

Good fiction according to Gardner "creates a vivid and continuous dream" for the reader.

Though the book contains good suggestions on craft they're not presented point by point but rather embedded within the text. That means enduring a lot of with Gardner's rather academic, elitist attitude.

Is it worth it? Definitely - if you're serious about becoming an accomplished author. ( )
  RodRaglin | Nov 20, 2017 |
Subtitled 'Notes on Craft for Young Writers,' this excellent resource will resonate with writers of any age. Gardner's passion for his topic is palpable; he draws from his own works as well as contemporary and classic novels to show the artifice behind "profluent" fiction. ( )
  DellaWanna | Nov 1, 2016 |
Not his best but still great writing advice. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
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To all my creative-writing students, and to all my fellow teachers of creative writing
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What the beginning writer ordinarily wants is a set of rules on what to do and what not to do in writing fiction.
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This classic guide, from the renowned novelist and professor, has helped transform generations of aspiring writers into masterful writers--and will continue to do so for many years to come.     John Gardner was almost as famous as a teacher of creative writing as he was for his own works. In this practical, instructive handbook, based on the courses and seminars that he gave, he explains, simply and cogently, the principles and techniques of good writing. Gardner's lessons, exemplified with detailed excerpts from classic works of literature, sweep across a complete range of topics--from the nature of aesthetics to the shape of a refined sentence. Written with passion, precision, and a deep respect for the art of writing, Gardner's book serves by turns as a critic, mentor, and friend. Anyone who has ever thought of taking the step from reader to writer should begin here.

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