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The Art of Story Writing : CHAPTER IV The Story of Adventure

by Nathaniel C. Fowler, JR   

CHAPTER IV The Story of Adventure

THE story of adventure, including the portrayal of danger, and of even hairbreadth escapes, is, and always will be, of selling quality. Every magazine, and all other periodicals, publish one or more of these stories every year; and there are two magazines devoted exclusively to this class of literature. The story of adventure, which is realistic and interesting, and holds the attention of the reader, is invariably written by one familiar with the life depicted. One who is not, should not attempt to produce it. If he does, he will be writing at arm's length, and is not likely to give out anything which will meet with more than indifferent acceptance.

No one can properly present the sport of fishing, who is not a fisherman, and who has not associated with fishermen. It is impossible for any one to place upon paper a vivid description of the woods, unless he has lived in them and tramped through them. One unfamiliar with wild beasts should keep the jungle out of his stories.

While experience with danger and with adventure is not, in itself, sufficient for the writing of this class of literature, and while ability properly to present what has occurred is essential, it is obvious that no amount of ability will produce an acceptable result unless the writer is in close touch with what he is attempting to portray.

The story of adventure must be vividly and strikingly realistic, and should, as a rule, have a happy or successful ending. The adventurer, or the principal characters in the story, should not be killed, but should come out victorious.

Occasionally it is possible for a seasoned writer to produce an acceptable story of adventure, taking his points from one who has experienced it; but familiarity with danger will enable him better to report what is told him, than he possibly can if he has only the tale of one who has passed through the scenes. Therefore, I would say that one had better not attempt this class of writing, unless he has experienced the unusual, and has a temperament which will allow him to write out facts and impressions vividly.

The writing of regular or ordinary matter or literature is easier, and is likely to be more acceptable to the reader.