Page:How to write a Short Story.djvu/61

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Conclusion and Climax

ondly, it decides the destinies of the characters. Thirdly, it is the severing of all connection with the plot. Fourthly, it is a logical explanation of the cause of all the previous action. Fifthly, it is really the point of the whole story. It may be said, therefore, to fulfill all the requirements.

A climax should never drag. It should come clear and sharp, like the snap of a whip. You should then be able to finish your story before the sound has died out, before the impression it leaves has been counterbalanced by tedious and dull explanations.

The climax in what is known as the “surprise story” is invariably false. Though it may amuse, it does so through the ingenuity of the writer rather than through a logical appeal to the sensibilities. It is clever, but not artistic, to write that a man followed you home one night, and slunk in the shadows when you stopped, and that he ran toward you suddenly, at your doorstep, and you saw—only your Newfoundland dog; or that after smoking the drugged