John Gardner followup which is also sort of a Writing Workshops followup
(via Small Beer’s Gavin J. Grant at the Bookslut blog)
About studying with John Gardner:
We didn’t bother with the Moral Fiction bullshit when he was teaching me, he was trying to show me how to edit and talking to me about irony and suspense and the things that make a good plot. I have somewhere a sheet of paper on which he wrote out for me the rules of the comma. He told me his theory of teaching writing, he said, “I can’t make you a writer, but I can show you some of the pitfalls and problems you’re going to face in writing and how to get around them. This is stuff that if you stuck with it you would probably learn, yourself, but I could save you five or ten years.