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

2. What does Gardner say that good fiction starts off in the reader's head?

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

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

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. How does Gardner explain characterization and story through his hypothetical story 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

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

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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