Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Short Story Month 2017—part 9: Short Story Writers on Unity of Impression

Short Story Month 2017—part 9:  Short Story Writers on Unity of Impression
Ambrose Bierce: The only way to get unity of impression from a novel is to shut it up and look at the covers.

Chekhov: "The short story, like the stage, has its conventions.  My instinct tells me that at the end of a story I must artfully concentrate for the reader an impression of the entire work, and therefore must casually mention something about those whom I have already presented.  Perhaps I am in error."

Edgar Allan Poe:  A skillful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, he has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having conceived with deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he then invents such incidents--he then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect... In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design."

          Edith Wharton:  The least touch of irrelevance, the least chill of inattention, will instantly undo the spell, and it will take as long to weave again as to get Humpty Dumpty back on his wall.

Wells Tower: It's very easy to write a terrible short story: you just write something and then stop.

John Wain:  There are perfectly successful short stories, and there are totally unsuccessful ones, and there’s nothing in between.

Richard Ford:  If stories fail, then they don’t make a short story.  It’s like bread.  Either it’s a loaf of bread or it’s doughy goo.

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