A handbook on story writing - PDF by Blanche Colton Williams

A handbook on story writing

A handbook on story writing

In the succeeding two or three years texts poured forth, as a glance at the appended bibliography (page 321) will inform the reader. Many of these stimulated the student; most of them in one respect or another helped the teacher. Yet about the time, 1 9 13, I took charge of the story writing course in Extension Teaching, at Columbia University, I could find no volume which aided the amateur definitely in construction. Here, again, the primary and fundamental laws of structure as I had evolved them, proved useful to the men and women bent on learn- ing the art of the short story with an eye to the publication. 

Their stories in The Atlantic, Scribner's, The Century, The Metropolitan, Everybody's and a number of minor publications prove that they have acquired a degree of expertness. And this fact leads me to comment on a division of opinion which has within recent years, and in the extended vogue of the short story, found proclamation. One camp asserts that the short story has no laws of technique, — a statement made, without exception, by those who have not set themselves to learn it. Members of the opposite camp declare that technique or "for- mula" has deadened the story. 

The truth would seem to lie between these extremes. The first opinion needs no comment; but It may be observed that the lover of fiction who demands only something under ten thousand words that is "interesting" will be the first to find Interest faltering, though he may not know why. If the structure Is Inadequate to support the warp and woof of story material. 

The second camp is right in this respect: the story is so much a matter of form it can be learned. Conceivably it can be learned by persons who are endowed with no supreme literary gift. There are examples of best literature which are not short stories; there are stories which are not literature. A great era of advertising made possible, if it did not demand, more magazines and with them the cheap story. (But I must not fail to state that the price frequently has nothing to do with the value of the story for which the price is paid.) The unworthy examples exist by virtue of the worthier. Compare the stories of Blackwood of seventy years ago with those of the present day, or compare the short stories of the lat- ter nineteenth century with those of the present, and you can come to one conclusion only: this is the golden age of short-story literature.

the book details :
  • Author: Blanche Colton Williams
  • Publication date: 1917
  • Company:New York, Dodd, Mead and Company

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