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. What masterpiece of James Joyce does Gardner suggest typing out for language growth in Chapter 1?

2. What kind of intelligence does Gardner say is important to the writer in Chapter 1?

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

5. Which title does Raymond Carver say is the only one he recalls of John Gardner's manuscripts in the Forward?

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

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

5. Where did Gardner learn his method of writing?

6. What does Gardner remark of the author's sense of observation in Chapter 1?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the negative aspects of going for a graduate degree from a writer's workshop. What cons does Gardner cite for these programs?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the exceptions that Gardner makes in reference to James Joyce, Franz Kafka, and Samuel Beckett. What in their writing differs from the traditional and still "works"?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the benefits of earning a graduate degree from a writer's workshop. In what ways can this be beneficial for the author?

(see the answer keys)

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