Page:How to write a Short Story.djvu/49

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CHAPTER IV

THE STORY PROPER

 The ideal short story is the relation of an isolated incident. In a novel you may introduce your heroine in one chapter and your hero in another, and then shift scenes and seasons with bewildering rapidity to the very end. There is a runaway, perhaps, in which the man saves the girl's life. There is a forest in which the lovers get lost together. There is an automobile wreck that drives them to a farmer's house for supper. But each of these leads up to the climax the inevitable marriage of the two.

Now, any one of these counter-incidents would make a short story, but all of them together lack the fundamental requisite of brief fiction unity. The ideal short story begins in one place and ends in that place. It begins with a certain number of characters and ends