Sometimes a meme says it all.

This is me reading John Gardner‘s work on fiction:

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7 comments

  1. I have a daughter who is highly interested in writing and wants to go to seminars, but they are very far away and expensive. Do you think any of his books would be suitable for a young teen who reads at the beginning college level?
    What about his work most makes you nod in agreement?
    Love the meme choice, by the way.

    1. Thanks on the meme choice compliment! Before I go any further, let me recommend the TOTALLY FREE, TOTALLY TELECOMMUTED Catholic Writer’s Guild Conference Online. It’s sponsored by the CWG, so there will be an element of faith woven in, however may of the topics are not faith-specific and deal just with writing. Do check it out!

      Gardner’s work is very definitely late undergrad/grad school level. In fact, I think one reviewer of his on Amazon was a graduate student who didn’t rate that particular work highly. I feel blessed to understand much of what he writes on writing because I was blessed to have completed a rather unusual undergraduate degree in “related arts.” Therefore, I came to his work already familiar with several the Greek classics (Illiad, Odyssey, Aristotle’s Poetics, the plays of Sophocles and Aeschylus), many of the European classics (Dante, Shakespeare), and many short story writers from the mid-20th century (too many to list). I think if she already has a background in all of those things, she might have a fighting chance getting something out of Gardner. Most of his books can be found or ILL’d from your local library.

      What books on writing has she already read? I don’t want to recommend anything that she’s already devoured.

      1. Thanks for the reply.
        At 13, she isn’t that sophisticated. I’m rather relieved, actually; some of the themes of Homer are rather rough for that age. At that age, Oedipus thoroughly creeped me out. The Shakespeare that she’s been exposed to, she does “get,” though.
        I don’t think she’s ready for a teleconference yet, but I’ll keep it in mind.
        Inter-library loan is usually my friend. And the new Cap is my hero. (I, too, have the asthma and I-am-too-stinking-short thing so I’m pretty sure it factors in.) 🙂

      2. LOL, I think Oedipus creeps out at any age! Just to clarify, the conference is online in forums and chat rooms, no phone calls. You could sign up and let her participate under close supervision, if you’re concerned. Anyway, it’s an option. However, in the meantime, I do agree with John Gardner on the reality that we can only master writing if we keep writing, so it sounds like she’s already on the right track. I do wish there were a book of writing advice for the young writer. Everything I’d recommend for a beginner (King’s _On Writing_, Lamott’s _Bird By Bird_, etc.) always ventures into unnecessarily “adult” territory. I don’t know why, though, because it’s usually unnecessary! If I think of something that might be good, I’ll let you know.

      3. Also, she doesn’t have any books on writing at the level she’s at. She’s working on a novel, having already written several children’s stories with her brother. She does occasionally read author blogs.

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