Page:How to write a Short Story.djvu/44

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How to Write a Short Story

“The house of Dorothy Owens was a magnificent stone mansion, beautiful inside and out. It stood on a high hill. But, in spite of its beauty, Dorothy was not happy. Years before she had had a lover, who, could she but have known it, was even now approaching the house, mounted on a mettlesome steed.”

Your ear tells you that this is trite and dull. There is no reason to go on reading; no promise of anything better. Would it not be more interesting if begun a little differently? For instance :

“The horse stopped suddenly, and the man lifted his head with a jerk. For the last mile he had been sitting in the saddle, not caring whom he met, not seeing. Now he looked ahead at the road that led straight up the hill to a house that stood on the summit. For a moment he stared at it, debating with himself. Then he smiled and dug his spurs into the horse.”

The one objection to this latter method is the necessity of saying, more or less bluntly: “But I must now explain that years before this man and woman