John gardner writing advice blog

That is, I'm bored by plots that depend on the psychological or sociological quirks of the main characters—mere melodramas of healthy against sick—stories that, subtly or otherwise, merely preach.

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He frequently comes off as a pompous jerk, but he's a pompous jerk who knows his stuff. Does your plot move that story along? Insanity—the simplest insanity ever devised!

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Another is proving himself despite having left the company. Writing reviews isn't really analytical, it's for the most part quick reactions—joys and rages.

John gardner on writers and writing

For real tension, scenes end in disasters, which require sequels. There must be sufficient questions they want answered. These two faults, insufficient detail and abstraction where what is needed is concrete detail, are common — in fact all but universal — in amateur writing. Read the entire book on paper! It is interesting how the least gripping characters are those with the least and the most boring problems. Interesting and arresting, I mean, like talking frogs. Most practically useful and least often found in other books on writing fiction that I have read are 1 the section on rhythm in writing prose, in which he provides sample sentences analyzed with metrical analysis and briefly discusses poetic terminology I'd forgotten iambs, dactyls, anapests, etc. Repeat numbers 8 through 16 below, until satisfied with novel When finished your first draft, let the manuscript cool down for at least three weeks, preferably 6 weeks. They can be trenchant, punchy. He models the way the process would work in much the same way a good teacher models practices and behavior in class. It's that that makes me not really a philosopher, but a novelist. Examples of structural decisions are: How and where you begin, length of chapters, point of view, direction of the story, purpose of structure—the list goes on, such as using a linear vs. It is mostly sound advice for those who wish to write fiction in the tradition of the "greats" e.

He discusses such problems as inappropriate or inconsistent diction, problems within sentences accidental rhyme, inappropriate rhythm, overloaded sentencescareless shifts in psychic distance, and "faults of soul" by which he means sentimentality, frigidity, and mannerism--I'm not sure they have to do with the soul, really, but his criticisms of their presence in literature are well-presented.

Scene vs.

the art of fiction john gardner summary

Second person present: You marry him.

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(Impossibly Condensed) Checklists for Writing a Novel