John Gardner on The Art of Fiction

At my friend Brian’s recommendation, I read John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers. The book is about writing fiction, but what Gardner says can be applied to the writing of anything from a blog post to a scholarly article to a non-fiction book or even to a sermon. William McPherson’s blurb on the back cover is spot on:

“He lays out virtually everything a person might want to know [about] how to say it , with good and bad examples and judgments falling like autumn leaves in a November storm.”

One of the things I appreciate about this book is that Gardner isn’t messing around:

“What is said here, whatever use it may be to others, is said for the elite; that is, for serious literary artists” (x).

I don’t want to pile up all my favorite quotes from this book in one post, so you can expect more autumn leaves from John Gardner this spring.

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  1. One of my favorites on the subject and easily one of the most canonical works on the art of writing. I can’t wait to see what quotes stuck out for you the most.

  2. I’m a huge Gardner fan. He also wrote a fantastic book called On Becoming a Novelist. You should check that one out as well. He was a troubled soul, but his work habits were herculean and his writing is some of the best I’ve read.

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