Thursday, October 29, 2015

Short Story Writing - Public Domain 1900

The short story has certainly withstood the test of time. This public domain book, Short Story Writing, can be read online for free. It was originally copyrighted in 1898 and again in 1900.

A Practical Treatise on the Art of the Short Story
By Charles Raymond Barrett

This book explores all aspects of the short story, from the title to the plot to methods of narration. The writing is a bit stiff and wordy, but the introduction explaining the history of short stories is interesting.

Is this book relevant to writers today? Absolutely. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on the different types of short stories, “Short Stories Classified”.

In the chapter on plotting, the author writes:


“In Detective Stories, however, the plot is all-important, the the interest depends entirely upon the unraveling of some tangle; but even here it must contain but a single idea, though that may be rather involved. Such stories are really much simper than they appear, for their seeming complexity consists in telling the story backwards, and so reasoning from effect to cause, rather than vice versa as in the ordinary tale.”

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