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2\. The Use of Melodrama

  • Another fault to be avoided is the use of melodramatic speech or incident. The
  • day is past when readers are thrilled by the sort of diction that charmed
  • Pomona of "Rudder Grange," as she read aloud,
  • "Ha—Ha—Lord—Marmont—thundered—thou—too—shalt—suffer!" And yet, in "A Scandal
  • in Bohemia" we read: "'And the papers?' asked the king, hoarsely; 'all is
  • lost!'"
  • It is difficult to discover a loss of "the papers" without melodramatic
  • exclamation; but moderate the speech of your characters at the time of the
  • appalling discovery as much as possible.
  • Avoid, too, the use of sentiment. Romance is not now referred to; but other
  • sentiments which though acceptable in the "story of manners," tend to distract
  • the reader of detective fiction. This field recognizes few emotions and no
  • moral; and as a human document it depends for its success upon the primitive
  • instincts of mankind and the material indications thereof.