On Becoming a Novelist - Chapter 1, The Writer's Nature, Pages 34-72 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 1, The Writer's Nature, Pages 34-72 Summary and Analysis

A second indicator of talent is intelligence manifest, natural and trained that in other people are signs of immaturity or incivility. Writers are too complex to be mad, but are addicted to stories and are offended when mindless, tasteless critics celebrate fake writing. It seems like malpractice. Because of how intently they observe, writers are unnerving at parties. Above all, true novelists despise false writers manipulating characters and thus cheating readers.

Good fiction creates a "vivid and continuous dream state" in the reader, generously, leaving nothing hanging and refraining from games and tests. It pleases, is intellectually and emotionally significant, and gives a taste of "life's strangeness." Accomplishing this requires regaining innocence lost through education. Theme, heavily emphasized in classrooms, is not what takes the reader's breath away; it is like...

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