Home    Contact   
Publishing Menubar Book PublishingMagazine PublishingAudiobook PublishingNewsletter PublishingE-Book PublishingeZine PublishingPublishing Menubar

Home
Associations
Authors
Awards
Book Binding
Book Fairs/Festivals
Book History
Canadian
Careers
Censorship
Children's Books
Contracts
Copyright
Design/Illustration
Distribution
Editorial
Education
Genres
Indexing
Libraries
Literary Agents
Marketing/Publicity
People/Profiles
Printing
Publishers
Reviews
Sales/Bookselling
Self-Publishing
Software
Statistics
Translation
Vendors/Services
Writing

RECOMMENDED!






Handling the Details

by The Editor Company   

 
 


The work of beginners and of those to whom manuscripts return and re-return, is not infrequently characterized either by a mass of irrelevant matter, which kills suspense and clogs the rapid action of the machinery, or by a paucity of details which leaves an unfinished and hence unattractive picture. Either defect is fatal, and one runs into the other as easily as malaria merges into typhoid.

For the second condition, the doctor critics seldom reach a correct diagnosis, and the author, vaguely conscious, endeavors to build up the depleted system by a tonic of words, and grows flaccid and unwieldy.

In both cases the remedy lies in a careful study of the modern short story. Now the short story may be prescribed for many diseases, and if digested or assimilated, becomes an admirable stimulant, but this paper aims to limit the dose to the handling of details.

First, read and ponder a story that appeals to you. Preferably it should be both strong and short. It must be modern. Don't hurry. Let the tale, with all its undercurrents of thought, seep through the brain-soil till it reaches bed rock. You'll get more out of it so. Then follow a plan something like this, but modified or changed to suit your special needs or the demands of the story.

I. Details of Environment.
A. Place.
1. Where
2. How described.
3. Adjectives used.
B. Time.  
1. How indicated.
2. Devices employed.
3. Unusual phrasing.

II. Details of Character.
A. Names.
B. Attributes.
a. physical,
b. mental.
c. moral.

III. Details of Climax.
A. Devices used to increase and maintain suspense.
B. Adjectives and adverbs.

IV. General.
Do all details,—
Pertain strictly to the story.
Awaken suspense.
Advance action.
Assist the denouement.

The outline is suggestive only, but try it before you condemn. Man is an imitative animal and learns more in a week by copying others, than in a year by unaided reason; hence no better method of mastering English composition has yet been devised, than the one suggested and practiced by Benjamin Franklin.

Having made your outline, reconstruct the story. Here you will see why a short, strong story is preferable: a strong story can stand your weakening, and a short story will enable you to stand the drudgery involved.

The next step is comparison—an eye-opener.

Plan a story of your own along the same lines and try again. You will be pleased with your success, and will feel as if you had climbed from the depths on purpose to catch the sudden ray of sunlight which shines gloriously just beyond.