Page:How to write a Short Story.djvu/23

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The Plot

dozen joyous reunions in the last chapter, or just before the curtain drops. The short story should concern itself with but one of these tangles.

Action is the fundamental requisite of a good plot. It transposes affections and situations from what they were at the beginning. A good, selling plot should bridge seeming impossibilities over practically certain disasters to a pleasing end. It should have unity of time, place and action; it should be brief, compact and plausible.

All these qualities are the result of the molder's skill. Let me outline a few methods of obtaining the raw material.

Since the origin of advice, writers have been told to search the newspapers for plots. It is probable, indeed, that a majority are secured through these mediums. Sometimes the plot is the development of a hint or suggestion, sometimes the completion of an unfinished bit of action, and sometimes, more rarely, an incident itself, precisely as it happened.