Page:How to write a Short Story.djvu/39

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 A story well begun is half told. Unless you can interest an editor in your first two or three paragraphs, your story may be submitted to every periodical in the country without the slightest chance of acceptance.

So much depends on the introductory sentences, from the viewpoint of the editor, that fully three-fourths of the stories submitted are never read beyond the first page. If they are lacking in interest here, the editor realizes that the writer knows nothing about the fundamental principles of story-writing, and that what follows is practically certain to violate all its rules. Unless the beginning interests him, therefore, he rejects the manuscript promptly without further reading.

An editor's method of determining the value of a manuscript is very simple.