A manual of the short story art - PDF book by Glenn Clark

A manual of the short story art 


A manual of the short story art

A famous actress, long since dead, once remarked with bitterness: "In my day all that was necessary to produce a play were two boards and a passion; today all that is necessary are two sticks and a wardrobe." In adopting this statement to the writing art I am tempted to paraphrase it as follows: In the good old days all that one needed to become a writer was an idea and a dozen goose quills; today all that one needs is a dozen rhetorics and a blue pencil.

This book was written with an eye on the student, not on the rules of composition and rhetoric. It conceives of the student as a creature who loves to use his eyes and ears, and who takes delight in playing the amateur detective and in ravelling and unravelling plots. It assumes that a young man or a young woman is filled to overflowing with warm, living interests and desires and aspirations which, taken together, constitute a greater driving force toward success in writing than anything which the textbooks and teachers can give him.

By taking advantage of these natural desires and instincts and not working against them it is believed that the teacher may best "draw out" the student to the fullest self-expression. One of these deep-seated instincts of the student is to see things in the concrete.

 For that reason, the method of presenting exercises commonly used in this book is the so-called "projective method." Instead of being asked to describe a city street, the student is asked to read a sentence that helps him to visualize a street and then to write down what he sees. Another deep-seated instinct of a boy is to "get some- where." Much as we may decry this by-product of the American worship of efficiency, we must accept it as a fact, whether or not we ignore it in theory. 

The American boy hates to mark time. For that reason, he gives the best of himself in supporting his football team which is righting its way toward a very definite and materially visible goal, and withholds all but the minimum amount of himself from the mastering of Latin conjugations where the goal is shrouded in mists of "sweetness and light."

 For the same reason, the average boy hates the thought of writing "themes" where the only relation of one to the other is as the relation of the chapters on Unity, Coherence and Mass in his textbook is one to the other, and where the final result is the blue pencil or the wastebasket. In this book, the short story is the goal, and the descriptive and narrative bits which are required of the student in the early chapters are all steps in a carefully charted path leading directly toward that goal. 

Needless to say, there are many other instincts, characteristic of boy nature, which this textbook attempts to utilize in tempting a boy to give the best of himself to the art of writing, which, lest we become tedious, we shall leave for the individual instructors and students to discover for themselves as they proceed to put these exercises into practice.

Some contents:

FOREWORD vii
A WORD TO THE TEACHER xiii
A WORD TO THE STUDENT. xv

PART I
STUDIES IN SHORT STORY WRITING . . i
CHAPTER
I. THE PICTURE 3
STUDIES IN VISUALIZATION 8
II. THE LOGICAL ARRANGEMENT OF PICTURE 10
STUDIES IN FIRST IMPRESSIONS 12
III. SUPPORTING THE PICTURE ..... 14
STUDIES IN THE FIVE SENSES 17
IV. THE STORY EMERGES FROM THE PICTURE. 21
STUDIES IN SUGGESTION 22
V. THE STORY EMERGES FROM DIALOGUE . . 27
STUDIES IN DIALOGUE 31
The House Opposite Anthony Hope . . 33
VI. GATHERING MATERIAL FOR STORIES ... 39
EXERCISES IN GATHERING IDEAS FOR STORIES. 44
VII. THE STORY FROM CHARACTER .... 47
EXERCISES 52
VIII. THE STORY BEGINS WITH COMPLICATION 62
EXERCISES 68
IX. THE STORY FROM SETTING 72
EXERCISES 75
X. THE STORY THAT GROWS FROM A THEME . 80
EXERCISES 81
XL SOME QUESTIONS ANSWERED 88
MISCELLANEOUS STUDIES IN SHORT STORY WRITING 104
The Spurious One Gertrude Brooke Hamilton 109

PART II
CREATIVE CRITICISM OF FOUR SHORT STORIES 115
AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMES OPPENHEIM. 118
THE SELF-INVENTORY OF THE WRITER OF STORIES 122
"THE GAY OLD DOG" By Edna Ferber . . 124
CREATIVE CRITICISM OF A STORY OF CHARACTER 153
"THE COP AND THE ANTHEM" By O. Henry 157
CREATIVE CRITICISM OF A COMPLICATION STORY 164
"GREATER LOVE HATH No MAN" By Beatrice Walker 169
CREATIVE CRITICISM OF A STORY OF ATMOSPHERE 180
"THE DARK HOUR" By Wilbur Daniel Steele 184
CREATIVE CRITICISM OF A THEMATIC STORY. 196


the book details :
  • Author: Glenn Clark
  • Publication date:1922
  • Company: New York: The Macmillan company

  • Download A manual of the short story art  8.7 MB 

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