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a single plot without digressions, but it does not employ the greatest economy of means to produce an effect. Like the novel it may use a larger number of incidents in its plot structure than the story, and each of these incidents may be more fully developed through conversation, narration, and description. In the main, however, a novelette is more like a story than a novel. It is, in fact, as it is sometimes called, a "long-short.

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The Novel may have a main plot and one or more subplots in parallel or contrast to the main plot. One or more characters in each sub-plot may play a part or parts in the main plot and so tie the two, three, or four separate actions into a unified whole. In working out his design the novelist may use many incidents in depicting or developing his characters, or in working out his theme. He may use a more deliberate method in reporting the conversations, letting them work out in full. The story writer at best can give only significant" samples" of the talk. Many characters may be used in a novel, and to produce a given effect the writer may let one set of characters work through a scene, and then, for fear that the impression has not been made strong enough, he may have other groups go through similar processes with other sets of incidents. The story writer, practicing the utmost economy of his means, may make but a single trial at producing a given impression.


Hamilton, Clayton. Materials and Methods of Fiction, Doubleday, Page and Company, Chapter x.

Perry, Bliss.

A Study of Prose Fiction, Houghton, Mifflin Company, Chapters x and xi.


Since the purpose of this chapter is to present definitions and distinctions, no detailed study of stories is attached. It seems more logical to apply these technical distinctions to each of the stories used in the second part of the book for careful study.





TUDENTS of fiction recognize four distinct points of view which the author may choose from. 1. The first person. He may choose to tell his story as if he were the chief character or some character of secondary importance who looks on and reports what the more important characters do and say. 2. The limited third person. He may represent himself as an interested observer, looking on and giving an account of what an on-looker could see and know. 3. The omniscient third person. From this point of view the author may tell everything that happens everywhere, even what the characters are thinking, the motives back of the thoughts, and the philosophy of life which accounts for the motives. 4. Diaries or letters, or entries in a diary only occasionally and for the sake of variety. Success in this form is elusive. Perhaps the best known story in the form of letters is Thomas Bailey Aldrich's Majorie Daw, and the most skillful performance with a series of documents of various sorts is Brander Matthews' The Documents in the Case.

Combinations of two or more of the four points of view are not unusual. In a narrative written in the first or third person letters and papers are frequently introduced; and in the letter form, narrative from the point



of view of the first or third person is nearly always resorted to in getting over some situation hard to make clear by means of the letters. Marjorie Daw is brought to a close by using narrative in the third person.

Each of these points of view has some distinctive advantage and some disadvantages. If the story is in the first person and the narrator is the chief character, it is not in very good taste for him to tell how he bore himself in some test of skill, or wit, or courage. The device adopted by most writers who wish to retain the vividness of first-hand narrative in an adventure story or story of triumph of intellect is to have the story told in the first person by an interested on-looker. Poe lets. the husband of the heroine tell how by indomitable will Ligeia conquers death. Dr. Watson recounts the triumphs of Sherlock Holmes. David Balfour tells the remarkable encounters and victories of Allan Breck.

The use of the omniscient third person is the easiest method of all, but it is likely to miss the vividness that accompanies the face-to-face narration of one who saw and heard. There is a danger, too, of knowing so much, as this god-like abstraction looks down on his creatures and their works, that the story becomes unconvincing, even absurd. Skillfully used, however, as this method is by most of our best story writers, it is very effective.

The narrative in the limited third person, recounting only what some unseen interested observer could have seen, heard, and known, requires the greatest skill, and when well done is perhaps the most effective of all. In the limited third person the observer may be entirely outside the story, as he is in the omniscient third person, or the author may choose to see his characters through

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the eyes of some secondary character in the story, and report (in the third person) only what that character could know or infer from what he saw and heard. In such a case the author's judgment of his characters would have to be in accord with the probable judgment such a character would form under the given conditions.


The purpose of a title is the same as that of a label on a package of merchandise offered for sale. It should be attractive, and should correctly characterize the contents of the story. To be attractive it should be short and definite, and worded so as to catch the attention through pleasing sound or some interesting turn of expression. In characterizing the contents the truth should be told as far as the title goes, but something should be left to imagination. The Gate of the Hundred Sorrows is a title rather longer than usual, but the wording is rhythmic, and the suggestion is of something dreamy and mysterious. A reader at all susceptible to suggestion could not pass such a label without investigating the contents of the package. Kipling's titles are usually of this compelling kind. Think of The Man Who Would be King, The Man Who Was, Without Benefit of Clergy, The Courting of Dinah Shad, The Brushwood Boy, and They. Contrast such titles as A Branch Road, A Kentucky Cardinal, Goliath, Fame's Little Day, with titles like An Experience on a Vacation, Margaret's Duty or How She Saved the Train, The Difficulties of Building a Railroad in Uganda, and Patty's Perilous Predicament.

A whole chapter might be written on what to avoid and what effects to strive for in selecting a title for a

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