Friday, November 7, 2014

John Gardner on The Very Life of Fiction

neighbor's yard November 2014
"Character is the very life of fiction. Setting exists so that the character has someplace to stand, something that can help define him, something he can pick up and throw, if necessary, or eat, or give to his girlfriend. Plot exists so the character can discover for himself (and in the process reveal to the reader) what he, the character, is really like: plot forces the character to choice and action, transforms him from a static construct to a lifelike human being making choices and paying for them or reaping the rewards. And theme exists only to make the character stand up and be somebody: theme is elevated critical language for what the character's main problem is." --John Gardner

Character is fiction's life. Setting, plot and theme support, fill in the gaps, add brushstrokes to the canvas. But character breathes. I share this quote so that I, for one, won't lose track of it. It's a keeper!

Enjoy this beautiful fall weekend, everyone.


  1. Thanks for sharing. what a wonderful quote.

  2. Nice share, Kendra. He managed to put the art of fiction in a nutshell, didn't he!

  3. Thanks, Cathy and Elizabeth--glad you liked the quote, too :-)

  4. That's one of the best quotes on character I've ever read. Thank you!

  5. I thought so, too, Peggy--thanks for weighing in on it!