Book Review

The Art of Fiction~ Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner

Gardner gave the typical spiel about writing, sadly, there wasn’t anything I haven’t read before by other authors so  overall this recommended book disappointed me. I would have found this book more engaging if I had read him early on my writing career.

However, I will note his two strongest chapters are error and technique, both were reinforcements of other things I’ve read but Gardner explained the value of each purpose and the need to focus on learning with each in an engaging manner. I congratulate him on these chapters, they were informative reads even for a more advanced writer.

“Clumsy writing is a common mistake in the work of amateurs though it shows up in the work of very good writers.” according to Gardner. The examples addressed are excessive use of passive voice, inappropriate use of introductory phrase containing infinite verbs, shifts in diction level , careless shifts in psychic distance or my ultimate favorite peeve lack of sentence variety although I do find reading faulty rhythms or accidental rhymes annoying.

I’m guilty myself of the introductory  phrases with infinite verbs. That is why a friend recommended I check this book out because he broke down errors in writing and how to fix them.

If you are new to writing this is a good beginning book but keep in mind it is geared to beginners. If you are an author already, it’s simply a refresher course.


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