On Becoming a Novelist Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Which author does Gardner state had "gazelle eyes" which dominated the room in Chapter 1?
(a) James Joyce.
(b) Anthony Trollope.
(c) F. Scott Fitzgerald.
(d) Joyce Carol Oates.

2. Gardner writes in Chapter 1 that when the central character is a victim there is no what?
(a) Empathy.
(b) Suspense.
(c) Terror.
(d) Action.

3. Gardner compares Melville's Moby Dick with what in Chapter 1?
(a) To Have and Have Not.
(b) Omoo.
(c) Emma.
(d) Anna Karanina.

4. What was Gardner's first wife's name?
(a) Sarah.
(b) Emily.
(c) Nora.
(d) Joan.

5. Who wrote Finnegan's Wake?
(a) Flaubert.
(b) Robbe-Grillet.
(c) Nabokov.
(d) Joyce.

Short Answer Questions

1. In Chapter 1, Gardner states that "In a literary culture where the very notion of a 'masterpiece' is commonly thought" what?

2. What author does Gardner say was known to arrive at a party and sit for ten minutes or more staring at guests and not answering when people addressed him in Chapter1?

3. Which philosopher maintained that nothing a writer writes means anything, "all the words are a lunatic blithering," since all language is by nature false and misleading?

4. What painter does Gardner remark in Chapter 1 never sold a painting in his life?

5. To whose poetry and prose had Gardner made allusions to in the novel Grendel?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Gardner describe traditional plot, victim stories, and "epiphany stories?"

2. What hypothetical situation does Gardner uses as an example of plot in Chapter 1?

3. What does Gardner write about showy language in Chapter 1?

4. What does Gardner say of writers with "bad taste" in language in Chapter 1?

5. What does Gardner say of "recognizing the significant" in Chapter 1?

6. What does Gardner relate about the "author's character" in Chapter 1? How does he describe "special intelligence?"

7. What does Gardner suggest as ways to understand the psychology of characters unlike themselves?

8. How does the young author learn technique through reading others?

9. What essential things must an aspiring author understand in order to pursue writing?

10. What state does good fiction elicit in the reader, according to Gardner?

(see the answer keys)

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