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On Becoming a Novelist

On Becoming a Novelist By John Gardner Raymond Carver On Becoming a Novelist 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

  • Title: On Becoming a Novelist
  • Author: John Gardner Raymond Carver
  • ISBN: 9780393320039
  • Page: 104
  • Format: Paperback
  • On Becoming a Novelist By John Gardner Raymond Carver 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 reasOn 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 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, Balti Sun
    On Becoming a Novelist By John Gardner Raymond Carver

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    One thought on “On Becoming a Novelist

    1. Glenn Russell on said:

      Thinking of writing a novel or becoming an honest to goodness novelist If so, then this slim book by John Gardner will offer you sound advice and friendly encouragement Of course, not every single bit of advice will apply to every would be novelist, but there are enough nuggets of hard won writerly wisdom from a dedicated master of the art to make this book worth your time As by way of example, here are several quotes along with my modest comments John Gardner on the experience of reading a good [...]

    2. Kressel Housman on said:

      Anne Lamott s Bird by Bird has just fallen to the 3 position in my list of favorite writing books I don t think she d mind, though, as she herself sings the praises of John Gardner in her book with, What he says about plot is so succinct it will make you want to sit up and howl What he says about plot is this all stories boil down to protagonist wants something, goes after it, and ends up with either a win, a lose, or a draw That s pretty good, but what makes me want to sit up and howl is what h [...]

    3. Lee Thompson on said:

      Jesus, I wish I would have known about this book when I started writing If you re new to the craft, or just beginning to sell your work like I have been the last three years, give this a read It s excellent.

    4. Maren on said:

      This is one of the best books I ve ever read about writing Interestingly, it s not actually about the process of writing, but a rumination on what it takes to be a writer and what kind of personalities are the best suited for it John Gardner writes beautifully and precisely about the persistence required to keep writing even when the odds are stacked against you and has the most to say about young writers as he calls them Being a young writer, I found everything he had to say to be extremely he [...]

    5. Lorena on said:

      John Gardners books are not for popular writers because though that category existed in his heyday of the 70s and 80s, self publishing did not So he could not imagine then where writing has gone His books are for the serious writer, who reads constantly, deeply and broadly, and is aware of the great, good, ugly, and bad categories of literature worldwide Authors who don t read widely will probably not appreciate him There are many erudite references, and I say this in the best possible way.On th [...]

    6. Naja on said:

      This book addresses nearly any emotion or trial you might experience as a novelist I struggled with some of Gardner s assertions I left a conflicted review on when I d read the first half of this book, but I might have to delete that or amend it, because the majority of this book is so, so excellent Like any other mystical experience, reading this is uncomfortable and challenging The tone is calmly authoritative The truths in it run so deep into the nature of creative writing that it really is t [...]

    7. David on said:

      This slim volume is an easy read with a lot of insightful commentary by a well respected writer I ve never read any of Gardner s novels, but I may have to try one just to see how what he said about the writing process played out in practice The book is a mix of How to write fundamentals that go deeper than just Don t overuse adverbs and personal reflections on how the writing process works for him It s aimed quite explicitly at those who really want to make a career as a novelist, not just those [...]

    8. René on said:

      Well, this book could really be titled On Becoming a Novelist in America because it s really US centric The rest of the world, for instance, won t care that Iowa has a good creative writing program but that Stanford s is no slouch either But that doesn t take anything away from it, a mix of craft guide, insider wisdom and above all the cumulative experience of the author s many years teaching creative writing in a university setting.It s enlightening to read that creative writing teachers, while [...]

    9. C.G. Fewston on said:

      On Becoming a Novelist 1983 by John Gardner is a book every novelist, amateur or professional, should read at least three times to better understand the complete dynamics and responsibility required to become a true novelist who pursues the craft as an art form The great short story writer Raymond Carver, who was a former pupil of Gardner, remembers his teacher telling him at Chico State to read all the Faulkner you can get your hands on, and then read all of Hemingway to clean the Faulkner out [...]

    10. John Wiswell on said:

      A profound book for the beginning or emerging novelist In very few pages Gardner shreds through the work of being a novelist, from experimenting and workshopping all the way through the submissions process and the self doubts of someone who s sold twenty successful novels It s all information a writer ought to know the personal sacrifices, how hard it can be to afford to write or find a job that leaves you with the energy to pursue it, the difficulty of connecting with agents and editors, how wo [...]

    11. Phèdre Banshee on said:

      A quel tempo avevo gi affrontato la penosa verit con la quale ogni giovane scrittore impegnato deve alla fine fare i conti il fatto di essere solo.Sono arrivata a questo manuale leggendo Il mestiere di scrivere di Raymond Carver, dove l autore dedica alcune pagine per parlare del suo mentore, John Gardner Uno dei suoi principi fondamentali era che uno scrittore scopriva ci che voleva dire man mano che capiva ci che aveva detto Credeva nella revisione, nella revisione continua era una cosa che gl [...]

    12. Hannah Greendale on said:

      On Becoming a Novelist offers useful information but is muddled by the author s occasionally sexist remarks The book identifies the general attributes of a writer and discusses several personality traits necessary for literary success based on the opinion of the author and his decades of experience The book also provides insight on the relevance of formal education to an aspiring writer and outlines the process of publication One of the unfortunate sexist remarks is as follows He you can learn t [...]

    13. J.S. Leonard on said:

      Whether apprentice or accomplished, every author should read this book It s a sobering pill to swallow, most of the time, but good medicine nonetheless Today s publishing landscape has a different rolling sprawl than in Gardner s day, so his outlining of a writer s journey to that of a published one is at odds with what is available to the modern, aspiring novelist This may very well be the reason to read it It shines insight on a dark and bygone age and, if one is practiced in self publishing, [...]

    14. Kirtida Gautam on said:

      I love myself that I read this book I needed this book like people need food and water For survival Novel writing came as an accident to me A happy accident I had a story I felt compelled even though ill equipped at that time to tell that story The story would not leave me alone, and I would not leave the story alone I wrote it like a manic Long story short Today that story is my first novel iAm16iCan I followed it writing my second novel But as my educational background is in natural sciences, [...]

    15. Graham Oliver on said:

      Next time Tobias Wolff tells me to read a book I won t wait so longThis is a smart, funny look at what it takes to be a novelist Obviously, you shouldn t read it expecting to learn what you need to change about yourself in order to become one like my other favorite book on writing, Stephen King s On Writing, this is just a collection of observations and anecdotes Some of it borders on the annoying, like the hyperbolic descriptions of what characteristics the personality of a good writer has, but [...]

    16. Paullette on said:

      While it is entertaining indeed to watch Gardner work himself into a snooty lather over pretty much anyone, aside from a chosen few, with the gall to publish a book, this text focuses far too much on the beginning writer and art to be of much practical or psychological use to those with writing experience and or ambitions of a lower altitude The man can write a sentence, though, which ultimately makes this book a worthwhile read.

    17. Rose on said:

      Proper review to come soon I actually quite liked this insight on writing practice, personality, and guidelines from Gardner It s not so much a how to guide in the sense of walking you through aspects of writing, but noting some of the strengths and attributes a writer must have in order to be successful at their craft Many of these factors I ve learned over time and practice, and he does urge the writer to practice in order to sharpen the senses and experiences needed.

    18. Izlinda on said:

      Had to read this book for a class, and it was not an English class.John Gardner passed away in 1982 This book was originally published one year after his death, its first publication by Norton was in 1999 I don t believe the 28 29 year gap makes the advice particularly dated, though it did make me question how Gardner would consider the impact of computers and the Internet in becoming a novelist I also wondered if Gardner would use examples in the recent years as examples of excellent writing or [...]

    19. Alessia Simoni on said:

      Se state cercando un manuale di scrittura creativa che vi spieghi le tecniche, i trucchi, che vi proponga esercizi, questo libro non fa per voi Il mestiere dello scrittore non un manuale come lo si soliti intendere sembra quasi una lunga e piacevole lezione universitaria, una di quelle di inizio anno in cui viene illustrato il programma ma non si entra nello specifico John Gardner illustra la sua personale esperienza di scrittore e insegnante di corsi di scrittura creativa,e e lo fa in maniera p [...]

    20. Mark Hennion on said:

      Despite mixed feelings after reading The Art Of Fiction I decided to give Gardner another go My reasons for this love hate relationship are not what most other writers readers have provided he s too prescriptive and he s biased So is everything, even when written in a non partisan, use less committal vocabulary to provide help to the aspiring writer My problem falls under the auspices of his codification of horror genre fiction as inherently worthless he provides a begrudging respect for some s [...]

    21. angelofthursday on said:

      This book isn t your friend someone who stands unfailingly behind you, supports you, and whispers, You can do it in your ear, like many of the how to writing books out there More realistic than fantasy, John Gardner lays the groundwork on what you can really expect from a writing career hard work that is endless, tiring, and thankless for the serious writer.If being told that you ll probably not make a living by being a writer, this book isn t for you If the following statement isn t mostly true [...]

    22. Taka on said:

      He knows what he s talking about It s a short book just over 140 pages and reads elegantly throughout The book doesn t provide practical advice on fiction writing It s a book about what it takes to be a novelist Some issues he takes up are outdated e.g he considers a question he was often asked typewriter or pen , but overall, the book is full of useful gems for anyone thinking about becoming a writer.I for one was happy to find in it confirmations of my own beliefs about what a literary fictio [...]

    23. Louis Arata on said:

      About 15 20 years ago, I read other Gardner works Grendel, Freddie s Book, and Nickel Mountain, as well as The Art of Fiction I confess I m intimidated by Gardner I want to like his work than I do It s kind of like my view on The Beatles, Elvis Presley, cilantro, and hoppy beer I can respect the craft but they re never going to be my favorites.The first section of On Becoming a Novelist focuses on The Writer s Nature Gardner writes about his own experience I worked hours at my fiction than any [...]

    24. Caed Scott on said:

      John Gardner is my favorite kind of mentor, a grouchy old grizzly who believes in you, kid, he knows what you can be, but would you stop fucking around In a trim, muscular 150 pages, he clears away all the mystical nonsense and bad habits that other writing books will feed you Don t cheat, he says Stop lying Writing isn t special or noble, it s just something you decided to do Not everyone can be an author, but it s not such a select few, either Your work isn t very good, and it won t be for a l [...]

    25. Jordan on said:

      Read for the third time, November 2017 Read in the novel writing class in which I began No Snakes in Iceland, Spring 2007 Read again after finishing it, spring or summer 2008 Refreshingly blunt about what it takes to write and honest about the inability to prescribe hard and fast rules Gardner comes across as abrasive to some, but I find him welcoming, honest, and inspiring But then I always did like my scariest, most intimidating, and arrogant seeming teachers.

    26. Jay on said:

      I disagree with Gardner in a few areas and on a few points, but the sincerity, clarity and accuracy of most of the book is amazing I approach books like this with the attitude that if I get one good point, have one good insight, then the book is well worth it This book gave me five or six insights Gardner is very opinionated and self confident to the point of annoyance on occasion however, he is frequently spot on I don t ask for .

    27. Andrew on said:

      The first half of this book really made me get my ass in gear when it came to sitting down at the chair and writing I wish Gardner were still alive to today so that he could comment on the evolving devolving literary landscape Some of the later sections are dated, but he succeeds in illuminating the writer life and the mindset necessary to pursuing it.

    28. C.E. on said:

      This book focuses not on writing technique, but on the writer It is insightful, funny and informative I found it a great comfort to read, as if I kept saying oh, that s why I am the way I am all the way through.

    29. Peter McQueeny on said:

      One of the best books I ve read on the craft Full of practical advice, enlightening anecdotes and much needed warnings Gardner presents a good natured account of what it is like to be a writer in the modern world.

    30. James on said:

      The first section of this book makes it a must read for any writer, especially if you re just starting out his thoughts regarding college hold particularly true to my experience The second half of the book is less impressive and a bit self indulgent but still has some good wisdom.

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