Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

3\. Dullness

  • Avoid dull and prosy description. If any type of story depends on action and
  • excitement, it is the type we are discussing. Keep before you always the
  • question of your reader's attitude towards your work. Arrest their attention,
  • rouse their curiosity, awake their interest, and you have made your start.
  • Continue to stimulate all these to the highest pitch, and your story is
  • written. Let your final explanation more than satisfy their anticipation, and
  • you have made a success.
  • Build everything toward the final climax, using minor surprises as stepping-
  • stones by the way. Continually produce the unexpected Persistently lead the
  • reader to believe one thing and then suddenly convince him that he ought to
  • have known it was another! Use every art and craft that in you lies to mislead
  • him, but in such a way that when he is turned back to the right path he will
  • vow he misled himself.
  • Remember the two great principles: to have your facts as straight and true as
  • a mathematical proposition; and to have your fancies as fascinating and
  • elusive as a fairy tale. In a word, the ideal writer of detective fiction
  • should be the child of Euclid and Scheherazade.