The Art Of Fiction by John Gardner

Nominated To The Writers’ Reading List By Litopia's Members

The Art Of Fiction by John Gardner

Our Summary

This is a self-proclaimed book of basics, but Gardner is clearly elitist; this work is aimed at writers aspiring to create art. It covers plot, character, sentence structure, poetic rhythm – all the mechanics of writing fiction – but he’s less interested in dictating laws of good writing. “Every true work of art,” Gardner claims, “must be judged primarily by its own laws.” His primary interest is about how to create a vivid dream to absorb the reader to the end of the story.

What I learned From It

This book is disorganised, but full of important lessons. There is no story until there is a plot capable of expressing it. The primary requirement of a piece of fiction is verisimilitude – that the reader can believe these events happened, or could have happened, or might happen in a slightly different world. And verisimilitude requires vivid detail. Most importantly it taught me to focus less on the technical details of correct writing and more on making the writing vivid and absorbing.

Dan Payne

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