The Novelist

NovelistI have to stop reading this John Gardner. I won’t get any work done. He has so many good ideas:

  •  Good fiction has suspense, which comes from moral dilemma and the courage to make and act upon choices.  False suspense comes from the accidental and meaningless occurrence of one damned thing after another.
  •  A writer who cares more for language calls attention away from the story to himself.
  •  The basic plot form of nearly all good fiction is:   A central character wants something, goes after it despite opposition (perhaps including his own doubts), and so arrives at a win, lose or draw.

…the true novelist is the one who doesn’t quit.  Novel writing is not so much a profession as a yoga, or “way,” an alternative to ordinary life in the world.  Its zenbenefits are quasi-religious — a changed quality of mind and heart, satisfactions no non-novelist can understand — and its rigors generally bring no profit except to the spirit.  For those who are authentically called to the profession, spiritual profits are enough.

(love that last line)

Images courtesy of:

  •  /zen

4 responses to “The Novelist

    • Thank you, Subhakar. You are right. I have a student in prison, a brilliant writer. But he loves the figures of speech, especially alliteration. He throws them in everywhere. They are distracting and take you away from the great story he is trying to tell. Some figures of speech are good, but not hundreds of them.
      Thank you for your comment.

  1. Great stuff, Ed, this John Gardner is really good! Kurt Vonnegut used to say when he was teaching creative writing somewhere or other (I’ve got Mondayitis) : “Make your main character want something right from the start – even if it’s only a glass of water.” Best to you, DdeV

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s