Page:How to write a Short Story.djvu/41

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The Introduction

cannot do it by labeling your characters, in imitation of a theater programme. You cannot do it by presenting familiar and worn-out situations.

Ninety per cent of the “unavailable” stories have one of these faults in their introduction. A good majority of those that are accepted begin with conversation that arouses interest, or striking sentences that make the reader anxious enough for an explanation to read further.

Your first sentence should plunge your reader into the action of your story. Leave your descriptions until you have interested him; then what would have bored him at first will prove only a pleasing explanation of the situation. In the ideal short story, the descriptions are sifted in so adroitly that there is no lagging of movement.

Don't begin your story by having a beautiful maiden wondering if her lover is true. Don't begin by saying that the heroine, dressed in well-fitting clothes, makes a handsome picture. Don't begin by presenting a girl who is review-