Page:How to write a Short Story.djvu/31

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Method of Narration

Fifthly, don't have a story within a story. All of us have read tales of a railroad wreck, where in the course of a thousand words an injured man is carried to a farm house. Just when you get interested, the man rises up in bed and says: “I will now tell you of my past.” And then you find that the real story is about to begin, and that the wreck, and the girl who bandaged his head, and the quaint old farmer really had nothing to do with the story proper. Common sense should teach that this style is to be avoided.

Successful stories have been written along the above lines, it is true, but the beginner has no right to handicap himself by using these methods.

The best short stories have been written in the third person. These are far more apt to be simple and direct, free from irritating deviations from the central theme, and withal stronger and more interesting. You stand just behind the curtain, with your hand on your puppets. You observe from a distance, and there is no obtruding of your