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

2. Gardner notes in Chapter 1 that Mercutio's madness is fantastic and what?

3. What does Gardner claim is helpful, if it can be kept in partial control, to keep the novelist driven?

4. Who wrote Bartelby the Scrivener?

5. Gardner claims he has been happy writing since the age of what?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. How does Gardner define "setting," "plot," and "theme" in Chapter 1?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss what Gardner refers to as "faith" in the final chapter. Where does the author find faith? How should the author go about escaping writer's block?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the differences between Melville's Onoo and Moby Dick. How does Gardner illustrate this in the text?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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