Writing the short story - PDF by J. Berg Esenwein

Writing the short story

Writing the short story
Writing the short story


a practical handbook on the rise, structure, writing, and sale of the modern short story


The short story, now the most popular literary form, is engaging the study of writers unnumbered, and the interest of an increasing host of readers. Its art is gradually crystallizing, its significance is deepening, and educators everywhere are giving courses for its study. 

This volume embodies the practical principles of short-story structure as recognized by American and British magazine editors, and as practised by authors whose products are judged to be of the first order. At the same time, the body of sound scholarship has not been lost sight of in considering the popular and marketable short-story, so that the treatise is peculiarly adapted to the needs of college and senior secondary-school classes, as well as suited to inspire and guide the individual writer, amateur or professional, who wishes to improve his art. 

Its preparation has involved a critical examination of practically every great short story now available in print, and many thousands of manuscripts read in the course of editorial service. Its conclusions, therefore, are seasoned with an intimate knowledge of the short story at its best — and at its worst — today. 

This treatise is confidently commended to you for classroom use because of several important considerations: Its inspirational method and logical order are based upon the best pedagogical approach; it covers the entire ground of the subject fully yet concisely; it is the work, not of a doctrinaire, but of a successful editor whose scholarship previously commanded attention in the college classroom and whose profession it has been for years to examine, purchase, edit and publish the short-story, as well as other literary forms.

Its analytical method at once reveals the road by which the author reaches his conclusions, and leaves a clear impression upon the student; its suggestive questions and exercises following each chapter, are not confined merely to the text, but will inspire and direct the student in original research, as well as suggest to the teacher other profitable lines along which such study may be followed, both in and out of the classroom; its comprehensive table of contents, and analytical summaries at the close of each chapter, present a clear view of the contents in whole and in part; its appendices and bibliographies are the most complete and helpful of any similar ones published.

 "Laboratory Method for the Study of the Short-Story" is original, and constitutes the foundation for a future vol-ume expanding this method, on which the author is already at work; its typographical arrangement, paragraphing, references and indexing, present the whole subject and its related parts in so clear a manner as to facilitate lesson assignments, recitations and individual research; it actually teaches short-story writing, and not merely facts about the short-story — there is not a theory in the whole volume but has stood the exacting double-test of teaching value and of the best editorial practice


It is easy to understand why primitive men loved the short- story and why the teller of such stories had a crowd about him in the streets of Bagdad and Damascus; and why medieval men and women delighted in the uncritical, loosely constructed tales included in the Gesta Romanorum. 

To the earliest men experience preceded reflection, the story of life began to unroll itself before there were any glossaries or commentaries; the things which happened were the only real things; and when the imagination began to open the windows and look out on the landscape of life, it saw everything from the standpoint of what had already happened. — Hamilton W. Mabie, Stories New and Old.

Some contents:

FOREWORD xi
To Teachers xiii
Historical Introduction i
I. THE RISE OF THE SHORT-STORY
1. The Story-Teller i
2. The Epic 2
3. The Ancient and Medieval Tale 4
4. The Sacred Books of the East S
5. The Drama 6
6. Novel 6
7. Other Literary Forms 8
8. The Perfecters of the Short-Story 8
n. ITS PRESENT PLACE AND POWER
1. The Short-Story and the Novel 10
2. Reasons for Popularity 11
3. The Influence of the Short-Story 12
PART I.— THE NATURE OF THE SHORT-STORY
Chapter I. — What is a Short-Story
I. What a Short-Story is Not 17
1. Not a Condensed Novel 19
2. Not an Episode 23
3. Not a Scenario .... 24
4. Not a Biography ... 24
5. Not a Sketch 25
6. Not a Tale 26
II. What a Short-Story is i .... 30
Exercises 32
Chapter II. — Kinds of Short- Story
1. Based on Types of Humanity 35
2. Based on the Moral Nature 36
3. Based on Occupations 36
4. Based on Locality 36
5. Based on Wonder 37
6. Based on Social Classes. 37
7. Based on Emotion in the Story 37
Exercises 37
PART II.— THE STRUCTURE OF THE SHORT-
STORY
Chapter I. — Choosing a Theme
1. Spontaneous Choice 42
2. Seeking Out a Theme 44
3. Themes Barred 45
Exercises 49
Chapter II. — Gathering the Materials
1. Observation 52
2. Experience - . . 54
3. Self-Study 56
4. Reflection 57
S- Reading 58
6. Discussion 59
7. Taking Notes 60
Exercises ... 61
Chapter III. — Fact in Fiction
1. Types of Fiction 64
(a) Realistic
(b) Romantic
(c) Idealistic
(d) Composite
2. Use of Facts 67
Exercises ... 70
Chapter IV. — Plot
I. What is a Short-Story Plot 71
II. Kinds of Plot 76


the book details :
  • Author: J. Berg Esenwein
  • Publication date: 1909
  • Company: New York City, Hinds, Noble & Eldredge

  • Download 8 MB

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