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character only; (3) which reveals the setting only; (4) which reveals only the theme or the single effect.

(5) A philosophical overture. (Anticipatory generalizations without action.)

Indirect action: (6) Which reveals setting, characters, and the theme or single effect; (7) which reveals character only; (8) which reveals the setting only; (9) which reveals only the theme or single effect; (10) pure description. (No action and no anticipatory generalizations.)

"In comparison with the opening, the closing event is no problem at all. The variety of endings is much less, and one's choice is not supremely important. Furthermore, the material is more plastic, and may be experimented upon freely without involving radical changes in the body of the story. There are three types of endings: (a) The direct dénouement; (b) the significant aftermath; (c) intepretative comment. The direct dénouement is the ideal finish of the pure dramatic story. . . . I cannot drop this topic without urging the student to study carefully the maturer stories of O. Henry, who surpasses all writers past and present in his mastery of the direct dénouement. What a host of his complications do not solve themselves until the last fifty words!"


The author's point of view involves the question of style, which, Mr. Pitkin says, is in the first sense the result of mastering story technique; in the second sense, the result of mastering grammar and rhetoric; and, in the third sense, the result of the artist's attitude toward his material and all that pertains to it.

Atmosphere in story writing is the emotional flavor of the place and time in which the dramatic events unfold. "Many students," says Mr. Pitkin, "get the notion that environment is atmosphere; and so they fall into the technical blunder of trying to produce atmosphere by elaborate descriptions of scenery. Their belief is false and their practice only occasionally sound."

The business of the short story, reduced to its simplest terms, is a "problem of three bodies": (a) The reading public; (b) the author, and (c) the publisher. One thing



should be borne in mind. The novel may successfully appeal to a single reading public; the short story must appeal to many. Again, the popular magazine shuns every topic which deviates much from the tastes of the supposed majority of the class or classes to which it appeals. Because of this, three types of short stories are unsuited to the average magazine: Satire, allegory, and the "fate drama." The "fate drama" is the opposite of the uplift story," after which so many editors are sighing. Maupassant's "The Piece of String" would probably have been rejected by most American magazines, because it is not pleasant reading. Most men and women are a little depressed by the thought that they are not the captains of their souls, and they do not wish to pay fifteen cents, still less thirty-five, for the depression. They get more than enough of it gratis every day. They read fiction, especially magazine fiction, either for pure pleasure or else for agreeable informal instruction." Still, the "fate drama" is much loved and attempted by beginners. They should bear in mind that the magazine short story specializes in entertaining, not in conveying ideas. The fashion of magazine fiction has changed greatly in a generation. No longer may the story writer insert a moral disquisition in the midst of a love scene. "He must write straight drama, weaving his thesis into it so deftly that he inseminates your mind without your knowing it. If he cannot accomplish this he fails altogether. But if he can, even imperfectly, his influence will exceed by a hundred-fold that of the old-school author-preacher. Many a high school graduate of the rising generation can grind out stories of the Maria Edgeworth stamp, but only a skilled and facile mind could produce a fictionsermon which a good modern magazine would publish."

On the side of technique in story writing, Mr. Pitkin says: "An entertaining article might be written on the business devices now employed by professional short story writers; the card catalogue, the follow-up system.' whereby one story which has pleased a public is announced as the first of a series; the

news clipping bureau, through which the specialist in high society stories receives raw material and the specialist in detective tales receives his matter, finished except in its dramatic form; and so on. But it is not important to instruct the learner in all these tricks of the trade. . . . Nine stories out of every ten are suggested, in one manner or another, by real episodes, and the variety of real episodes in any field or of any flavor is immeasurably richer than the range of any one man's fancy. These two indisputable facts set the first rule of specialization, which is this: Get in touch with some phase of life; become intimate with something that is going on in the world. They also shape the second rule, which is this: Study one, and only one, emotional quality of your chosen phase of life, for a long time.

· Each learner should aim to order his work so as to produce the largest possible number of fairly good stories about his special subject. The lower grade of fiction produced in the course of practice generally finds a market, albeit a cheap one. On the other hand, heavy production of carefully worked out second and third rate stories indubitably hastens toward the high goal of every artist; namely, toward that degree of proficiency at which technical manipulations become habits. The first moment of genuine artistry arrives when the writer begins to use, without thinking of them, all the cautions and principles which we have been discussing in this book. A few fortunates early acquire this ease without orderly help. To them technical instruction seems futile. They say they cannot think of the thousand and one precepts, nor do they have to. This is true. Technique is only a means to establishing habits of behavior. Once the latter are in full swing, thought of the mechanism drops out."

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Of the many resulting plots, usually the two or three best will alone prove worthy of writing; the rest go into the waste basket. Roughly speaking, there are two types of combination. First, you may invent a situation, and then, keeping it unaltered, put different people into it and compare their behavior. Or, secondly, you may begin with a definite person - or with a character trait - and you may try it out in many situations, seeking that one which brings out most vividly the chosen quality of human nature. Not until you have gone through these operations several times will you realize how prodigious is the host of widely differing stories which lurks potentially in a single character or in one situation. And after you have experimented much, you will perhaps turn the method to profit, by finding a character and a small field of situations which yield a dozen, or even a score, of stories. This is the richest of all finds. For each story in such a series helps to sell the next, and what is still more valuable - the collection will be accepted more eagerly for publication in book form than a miscellany will. Almost every prominent professional writer of brief fiction to-day is producing such series; there is scarcely a magazine that is not always seeking them, and there are few fiction publishers who are not making favorable offers for the book rights. Thus the stories sell twice, bringing double profit; they associate the author's name with a familiar character or theme and thereby add to his reputation, and, through the experimenting they force him to, they ripen his technical skill wonderfully.

"There remains one practical question: What are the story writer's prospects? The answer is hard; for, when all is said and done, the chief factors of success and failure are the individual and his opportunity, both of which defy rules and calculation. There are fashions in fiction, as everybody knows; they are sometimes as capricious as the fashions in women's rigging. The last decade has seen the story of the stupid life (miscalled realistic fiction) give way to half a dozen more thrilling types, such as the high-life story, the muck-raking

story, the whimsical story of every-day life, and even the story of high adventure (which Stevenson revived with such exquisite - even too exquisite touch, and which to-day Jeffrey Farnol and others are shabbily counterfeiting). The change of fashions affects only the relative cash value of the different types of stories. What the hour approves is worth from two cents a word upward (there being no maximum). The untimely story, however beautiful, brings newspaper rates or even less (except when the value of the author's name is added to it, or when the author turns it in on a contract). Now, even the best writer cannot produce steadily fine specimens of the more profitable style; and the fairly skilful one may count himself fortunate if he can hit it off once in four tries. Hence there are only two roads to money-making: The author may make his few fine stories so very fine that they earn him a reputation which will be added in dollars and cents to his less admired output; or, on the other hand, he may invent an enormous number of stories, write them without much attention to finish, and make quick sales and small profits.' Most professional writers choose the second course in the beginning of their careers, and by sheer bulk of production acquire a facile technique, a sense of story values and public taste, and a variety of information about life which, sooner or later, enable them to enter upon the other, pleasanter path. This may not be the course of genius, but it is that of the craftsman.

"In the light of all this we may estimate the writer's chances of success as follows: The earning power of an author depends upon three factors: (1) His sympathy with contemporary tastes and thought; (2) the quantity of his monthly output; and (3) the ease of his technique. A marked decrease in any one of these must be offset by an increase in one or both of the others, if success is to be assured. Figures dangerous here, but I venture to say that the person who, after a thorough study of technique, cannot write every month at least



stories of average magazine length (4.500 words, say) should not aspire to become a professional. I do not say that he must be able to sell two stories a month, nor that all that he writes at this speed shall wholly please him. The measure is adjusted only to his narrative composition. If he can hold the pace, he probably has his technique well enough in hand to justify further efforts, and also his imagination is likely to be moderately vigorous. If he cannot hold it, he still may join the great majority, who write occasionally. This course may turn out to be quite advantageous. If a school teacher, let us say, can sell only five good stories a year, that adds from five hundred dollars to a thousand or more to the annual income."

To the story writer Mr. Pitkin says: "Form some habit of regular work. What it shall be you alone can decide, only let it be strenuous. Probably four hours of writing every day is the least you should content yourself with during the years in which you are mastering technique. Shun classic literature as a source of story ideas. Study it only for the pleasure of it, and for information about technique and rhetoric. Read current magazines carefully, even those which you dislike. Watch the work of the more successful writers. Compare their themes with those which are being discussed by essayists, journalists, politicians, social workers, and other men of the world. Observe to what extent fiction draws upon science, reform, and practical affairs for its underlying thoughts. Keep some record of every story idea that pops into your head, no matter how silly, or highflown, or clumsy it may be in its original form. Infinite are the possibilities of combining, weaving, and twisting thoughts, and what the result will be no man can foretell. Some great stories have had trivial, even ludicrous origin."

These extracts and abstracts give some idea of the value of Mr. Pitkin's book. Its philosophy is practical, and those who are ambitious to do good work in story writing may study it with profit.


Arthur Fosdick.

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to subscribers who are more than a year in arrears, unless there has been a payment or a request for renewal and a definite promise of payment. Subscribers for THE WRITER, therefore, are asked to look at the address label on the wrapper of the magazine. If the date on the label is earlier than April, 1912, it is necessary for them to send a remittance, or a request to continue sending the magazine, with a definite promise of payment. Will subscribers kindly give this matter their immediate attention?

The only good jokes, according to the Christian Science Monitor, are those that do not, intentionally or unintentionally, wound the sensibilities of any person or of any class, that do not bring into ridicule things held sacred by any person or by any class, that do not openly or covertly belittle the affection, faith, hope, aspirations, or idealisms of any person or of any class, that are not vicious, impure, unfeeling, or vulgar in their tendencies. These limitations apply not only to jokes, but to literary work in general.

The rewards of authorship are not always limousines and terrapin. We hear a good deal about the success of writers who demand and get sometimes a thousand dollars or more for a short story, and of others whose books sell to the number of hundreds of thousands of copies, with a royalty on every one, but the experience of the unsuccessful author, or of the author who is only moderately successful, is seldom set forth in print. One of this latter class, an Englishman, who calls himself "a minor novelist," has recently told the tale of his career, and it certainly is not encouraging. In 1899, he wrote his first book, which consisted of about 100,000 words. It was refused by seventeen publishers, but the eighteenth publisher to whom he offered it paid him $225 for the copyright. With expenses deducted this amounted to about $175, but for his second book he got $250. It took him a year to sell his third book, for

which he received $150, and the fourth, fifth, and sixth books were sold for about the same amount. One of his later books brought him more than $750, but another, published afterward on the royalty plan, paid him no more than $100. Altogether in thirteen years he has produced fourteen novels published and three unpublished, with total receipts of about $3.230, or a little less than two hundred and fifty dollars a year. Deducting the cost of typewriting and postage, his fourteen novels have not brought him two hundred dollars apiece. He would not have got even $3,230 in fourteen years if he had not had the luck to serialize three of his novels, the price for serial rights in one case amounting to five hundred dollars. In all probability he has not won much fame, although he says his first book was sold out very quickly in England, and two impressions were disposed of in this country. Is it any wonder that he has announced his intention now of giving up literature and setting up as driver of a taxicab?

W. H. H.


Paul Lee Ellerbe, who wrote the story, "The Vacant Forty," published in the March Lippincott's, is a native of Alabama, twenty-nine years old, who for the last eight years has lived in Denver, where he is serving as naturalization examiner in the United States Department of Commerce and Labor (now the Department of Labor). "The Vacant Forty" is the first story that he has had published.

Ida M. Evans, who had a story, entitled "An Uplifter," in the Red Book for March, was employed for several years in the wholesale millinery houses of Chicago, but three years and a half ago she began to write, and has since had stories published in the New York Sun, the People's Magazine, Short Stories, the Cavalier, the Coming Nation, Holland's Magazine, Young's Magazine, the Red Book, the Blue Book, the Black Cat. and the Chicago News. She also has a

serial now running in Lieutenant-Governor Barratt O'Hara's Chicago Magazine, and the Green Book will soon bring out one of her stories. Miss Evans says that this does n't sound interesting, but that it has been.

Henry E. Haydock, whose articles, "The Ruby-throated Humming-bird," in Country Life in America; "The Phoebe Bird," in Suburban Life; "The Chickadee," in Young People; and “ Birds and the Garden," in Farm and Home, have appeared during the past year, is a great lover of birds, and finds their companionship a source of continued and varied interest at his home on Long Island. Mr. Haydock is also a writer of short stories, which have appeared in Collier's, the Ladies' World, Pennsylvania Grit, the New York Evening Mail, the Chicago Daily News, the Boys' World, and the American Boy. He has won prizes in competition with the stories, "The Winning Touchdown," published in Golden Days, "An Automobile Adventure," in the American Home, and "The Blue Ribbon," in Poultry Success. His farm and poultry articles have appeared in the Farm Journal, Farm and Home, the Orange Judd Weeklies, the New York Tribune Farmer, Successful Farming, the Country Gentleman, the National Stockman and Farmer, the Fruit Grower, the American Poultry Advocate, and other publications.

Clara Odell Lyon, author of the story, "The Strategy of Hezekiah John," published in Lippincott's for March, has for some time been writing rhymes and jingles, with an occasional story for children, which have appeared in such magazines as the Outlook, the Woman's Home Companion, the Youth's Companion, and St. Nicholas. Quite a number of her verses and stories have been used on the Children's Page of the Cincinnati Enquirer, as well as a number of fairy tales which she translated from the Spanish. Her first attempt at publication was a story sent to the editor of the Epworth Herald. She allowed a day for going, a day for the reading, a day for coming

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