John Gardner

John GardnerOne of my favorite authors was John Gardner, who wrote two outstanding books on writing, The Art of Fiction, and On Becoming A Novelist.  Many writing books are aimed at “How to,” — how to write a page turner, how to write a romance, etc. John Gardner, on the other hand, gives us the deeper view of writing. It’s like he digs into this thing call writing and brings it up to the surface where we can see it. It’s not a fast read, you have to read him over and over to really get it. I think it’s worth it. (I’ve met people, however, who hated his books)

I was reading his take on “Show, Don’t Tell,” and came across this little passage:

Writes John Gardner in The Art of Fiction:

“[The writer] must present, moment by moment, concrete images drawn from careful observation of how people behave . . . the exact gestures, facial expression, or turns of speech that, within any given scene, move human beings from emotion to emotion, from one instant in time to the next.

         “Vivid detail is the life blood of fiction. [With] verisimilitude, suspension of disbelief through narrative voice . . . the Show. Don't tell
reader is regularly presented with proofs – in the form of closely observed details – that what is said to be happening
is really happening.”

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2 responses to “John Gardner

    • Yes, you are right. There are two John Gardner’s. One is a popular novelist, alive today I believe. I don’t know his work. The other died maybe twenty years ago. The one I refer to also wrote novels and books about writing. I don’t know how to straighten out the confusion.

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