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 is, according to Gardner, the one quality in fiction that cannot be faked?

2. Which author wrote A Tale of Two Cities?

3. What author does Gardner remark has a persistent mean streak in his writing?

4. What does Gardner say we call a writer who has less feeling for his characters than we feel they deserve?

5. What author does Gardner remark has a bad habit of breaking the vivid and continuous dream by pouring on the rhetoric in Chapter 1?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. How does Gardner explain characterization and story through his hypothetical story in Chapter 1?

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

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

8. What does Gardner write of expressing characters' emotions in Chapter 1?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare the language and characterizations of Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas, and John Updike. How do these authors approach character differently?

Essay Topic 2

Describe what Gardner refers to as the "moments of magic" in an author's work. How does one recognize these when reading? What examples does Gardner cite?

Essay Topic 3

What does Gardner mean in Chapter 1 when he refers to "verbal sensitivity"? What does this phrase mean and not mean to the author?

(see the answer keys)

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