The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers

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Vintage Books, 1991 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 224 pages
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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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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

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JacobSeifert - LibraryThing

The snobbish opening nearly scared me off. I was sure I was what Gardner calls an "ignoramus," but I stuck with it and learned some valuable things. I like that he reinforces that successful writing ... Read full review


Aesthetic Law and Artistic Mystery
Basic Skills Genre and Fiction as Dream 17
Interest and Truth 39
Metafiction Deconstruction and Jazzing Around 82
Common Errors 97
Exercises 195

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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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