The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers

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Vintage Books, 1991 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 224 pages
30 Reviews
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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TiffanyAK - LibraryThing

There is some stuff in this book that is quite good and compelling, but it is ultimately soured a bit by the fact that Gardner is rather convinced of his own genius. By this I mean, he's quite full of ... Read full review

Review: The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers

User Review  - Kathleen - Goodreads

A basically decent book on craft full of weird axe-grindy passages about "meta-fiction" and head-shaking sexism: "The age-old idea of human dignity comes to apply event to the indigent, even to slaves, even to immigrants, now recently even to women." Read full review


Basic Skills Genre and Fiction as Dream 17
Interest and Truth 39
Metafiction Deconstruction and Iazzing Around 82
f Common Errors 97
Exercises 1

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About the author (1991)

John Gardner was accorded wide praise for his works of imagination, of criticism, and of scholarship.  He was born in 1933 in Batavia, New York.  Among the universities at which he taught are Oberlin, San Francisco State, Northwestern, Southern Illinois, Bennington and SUNY-Binghamton. The Art of Fiction was completed before his death in 1982.

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