On Becoming a Novelist

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W.W. Norton, 1999 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 150 pages
2 Reviews
On Becoming a Novelist contains the wisdom accumulated during John Gardner's distinguished twenty-year career as a fiction writer and creative writing teacher. With elegance, humor, and sophistication, Gardner describes the life of a working novelist; warns what needs to be guarded against, both from within the writer and from without; and predicts what the writer can reasonably expect and what, in general, he or she cannot. "For a certain kind of person," Gardner writes, "nothing is more joyful or satisfying than the life of a novelist." But no other vocation, he is quick to add, is so fraught with professional and spiritual difficulties. Whether discussing the supposed value of writer's workshops, explaining the role of the novelist's agent and editor, or railing against the seductive fruits of literary elitism, On Becoming a Novelist is an indispensable, life-affirming handbook for anyone authentically called to the profession. "A miraculously detailed account of the creative process."—Anne Tyler, Baltimore Sun

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Review: On Becoming a Novelist

User Review  - Rory - Goodreads

Much of this book felt like it was written specifically for me. (A couple of parts felt like Gardner wrote them just for himself. I just ignored them.) He understands the anxieties young writers can ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

John Gardner was the best-selling author of more than 25 books and taught creative writing at many universities, among them Chico State, Bennington College, and SUNY-Binghamton. His novels Grendel, The Sunlight Dialogues, and October Light are regarded as modern classics. He was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1982 at the age of 49.

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