Pub. Date:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
On Becoming a Novelist

On Becoming a Novelist

by John Gardner, Raymond Carver


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"One of the greatest creative writing teachers we've ever had." —Frederick Busch

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 reasonably expect and what, in general, he or she cannot. "For a certain kind of person," Gardner writes, "nothing is more 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, Baltimore Sun

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393320039
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/28/1999
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 172
Sales rank: 466,648
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

John Gardner was the best-selling author of more than 25 books and taught creative writing at many universities, among them Chico State, Bennington College, and SUNY-Binghamton. His novels Grendel, The Sunlight Dialogues, and October Light are regarded as modern classics. He was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1982 at the age of 49.

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On Becoming a Novelist 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a necessary book to help writers know the facts about writing. Gardner points out that good writing starts with actually sitting down and writing; that the first thing a story must be, before including theme and symbolism, is a good story; and that writing, while it might not lead to wealth, can be rewarding.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent book about the art of writing and the nature of the writer, with strict and confident views, from one of the greatest modern writers.
LaurieRKing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sensible yet subtle, one could only wish his novels were as readable. (You have to wonder what his first drafts looked like, before the wrtiting teacher's heavy editorial hand descended.)
devilwrites on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
No writer should go without reading this book. It focuses on the kinds of things that makes good writing actual literary writing, and it makes you think about your craft.
clothingoptional on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've been writing daily for 15 years and I love this book. Not because I agree with everything Gardner says, but because he tells you up front that writing is hard work...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago