Page:How to write a Short Story.djvu/32

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How to Write a Short Story

personality. You tell your story in a perfectly natural, straightforward manner, that is bound to be a pleasant contrast to the affected, slinking way of the first person, of the diaries or letters, or of the narration within narration.

But even in this method there are pitfalls for the unwary. You are apt to believe yourself a regular magician because you can create people out of nothingness, and to imagine you have a perfect right to put down the innermost thoughts of all your characters. This is a wrong view-point. In reality you are the mind of some one of your characters. You can write of his actions, of his likes and dislikes, of his thoughts. But there your power ends. You must not err by putting down the thoughts of all your characters. With the single exception of the one whom you push to the foreground, you must make the minds of your people closed books. You don't know what they feel. You are breathing, thinking, living with just one person. You observe the others as he might.