by John Gardner
Started: Oct. 2
Finished: Oct. 21
Notes: Though I find it somewhat limiting, for a while now I've had quite the interest in Gardner's philosophical approach to fiction as outlined in his book On Moral Fiction. Being a fan of that book, even though I don't agree with all of it, I thought it time I read some of Gardner's work on the mechanics of writing. Thus, I'm reading this book, The Art of Fiction.
Mini review: This book comes off a bit snobbish early on, but to be fair, Gardner warns that this material is meant for those who are serious about being a literary writer. Also, the sub-head on this one suggest it is for young people, but my feeling was much of this material would go over the heads of all but the most well-read and experienced writers. There is a fair amount of material here, but I'm not sure it's absolutely necessary for most writers. The first half of the book mostly looks into literary theory, which can be a bit dry, but might be of interest to some, dealing with such things as themes, morality in fiction, etc. The second half of the book is a little more down to earth, focusing upon structure, plotting, etc. The last chapter of the book is filled with exercises, and I thought many of them were quite interesting. Should this book be mandatory? No. But it could be interesting reading for those with a literary bent, and especially for those who are Gardner fans.