It was John Gardner, the legendary teacher of the craft, who voiced my challenge. The elements of fiction, he said, like the words in a language, are finite. Oh, are they? I thought; then set about collecting them. Or, more precisely, I set about collecting authorsâ€™ quotes about them. This endeavor set out as a cheat sheet, a short list of those elements I recognized and documented (by quotes), but soon it took on a life of its own and grew beyond all reasonable proportions. Ten years later (and about ten years ago) and at about 400 pages, I was done looking; even though I could, truly, still look for and find more elements and quotes to support them. By then, the project had served its purpose and it had made me (at least to my satisfaction) a better writer. This collection of quotesâ€”I call it a surveyâ€”has been lying dormant on my hard drive for a few years now, and I thought perhaps this would be a good time to share the spoils.