Page:How to write a Short Story.djvu/21

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The Plot

stories of yesterday and the day before. Make it dramatic; melodramatic, if you will. But wake up your reader; startle the editor and make him read it in spite of himself.

It may interest you to know that fully three-fourths of all the stories submitted nowadays are rejected because of weak or trite plot-interest. In this connection, the following statement, issued by the Frank A. Munsey Co. to its contributors, is of interest:

“We want stories; not dialect sketches, not washed out studies of effete human nature, not weak tales of sickly sentimentality, not pretty writing. We want fiction in which there is a story—action, force, complications. Good writing is as common as clam shells; good stories are as rare as statesmanship. We get thousands of manuscripts, alleged stories, in which the story is not worth the telling, meaningless, flat, inane; and yet many of these stories are cleverly told. They lack merely one thing, and that is the story itself.”

In this statement lies the nucleus of