The Technique of Fiction Writing Part 13

The Technique of Fiction Writing -

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(3) Realize the characters, major and minor; that is, discover just what attributes of theirs must be developed by direct statement or by inference from action in order to give the plot an adequate, concrete, specific presentment.

(4) Having grasped the plot, the essence of the story, and all its implications, and having realized the individual people who alone can present it convincingly, scrutinize closely the events of the story, as they first were conceived, to discover whether their rearrangement or entire change may not result in a combination presenting the plot more adequately and more forcefully than the combination that first suggested the plot.

(5) Having blocked out the fiction thus, consider and determine from whose viewpoint it may best be told.


(1) Arrange the significant events of the story in sequence with a due but not forced regard to the necessities of climax, that is, increasing tensity of the plot-struggle.

(2) Consider how best to link together the major happenings, and endeavor to devise and manipulate the minor events so that they may serve a double purpose, first, to lead from major event to major event, second, to develop the characters; remember that a story is a physical presentment of a spiritual thing, the plot-struggle, and that personality should function in the small as well as in the great events.

(3) Determine precisely the ending toward which to work, and let it coincide with the termination of the plot-struggle.

(4) Apportion the length of the story among its several happenings, those main events which give physical presentment to the plot and so incidentally develop or exhibit character, and those minor events which only develop character or merely aid the physical progress of the story.


(1) Determine the style or manner of writing for which the story calls, and maintain it when once pitched upon.

(2) Write vividly only where emphasis is called for by the event; do not be afraid to narrate in general terms where the story does not call for detail; and think less of the word than of the thing you visualize. Let the story flow before your eye and sound in your ear as to an actual observer or listener; transcribe only what he would see, hear, smell or think under the influence of the particular circ.u.mstances.

(3) Avoid all artificialities, in description, in the speech of characters, even in their names and in the undue repet.i.tion of verbs of utterance--"he said," "she said."

(4) Re-write, or touch up in ma.n.u.script.

(5) After a week or more, when other matters have shaken the mind from the ruts it has worn for itself in planning and writing the story, re-read it critically to discover whether it is worth-while and whether it cannot be improved.

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