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

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Gardner states in Chapter 1 that Canterbury Tales is a disguised what?

2. Which sci-fi author wrote A Canticle for Liebowitz?

3. Which author does Gardner state had "gazelle eyes" which dominated the room in Chapter 1?

4. Gardner refers to boring, worn out language as being what kind of mask?

5. Gardner states that the effective writer leads the reader into a continuous what?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What authors does Gardner use to illustrate language and character in Chapter 1?

3. In Chapter 1, what does Gardner say the most common question of the aspiring writer is to him? What is the response?

4. What is the "moronic setup" that Gardner relates in Chapter 1?

5. What is the second indicator of talent that Gardner discusses in Chapter 1? What author does he cite in this?

6. What does Gardner write of Nabokov in Chapter 1?

7. Who does Gardner refer to as the "best" novelists in Chapter 1? What lesson does he cite of them?

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

9. What does Gardner assert of the author learning character through television in Chapter 1?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe the qualities which make a good or a bad teacher in a fiction writing class. What are some of the "red flags" which indicate an author should leave the program?

Essay Topic 2

Describe the biographical history of John Gardner. How did he come to writing? What was his childhood like? Where did he study?

Essay Topic 3

Describe the author's keen sense of observation. Why is this necessary? How does it affect the author?

(see the answer keys)

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