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. 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?

2. What is the first thing that Gardner states a writer needs to have in Chapter 1?

3. Gardner suggests the young writer get a first-rate freshman composition book such as An American Rhetoric by whom?

4. Of what author does Gardner say his heroes are clown-heroes knocked around by the universe?

5. Who developed the style of the "epiphany story" in The Dubliners?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What does Gardner say in Chapter 1 regarding "verbal sensitivity?" What does this term mean?

4. How does Gardner explain characterization and story through his hypothetical story 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 authors does Gardner use to illustrate language and character in Chapter 1?

7. Where did Gardner learn his method of writing?

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

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

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

What subjects are worthwhile or important for the author in gaining a well-rounded education? Why?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss Gardner's feelings about the element of "theme" when writing. Where is "theme" useful? Where is it not?

Essay Topic 3

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

(see the answer keys)

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