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Monday, 3 August 2009

Maupassant's Necklace

The Necklace by Maupassant is a story I keep reading. It seems perfect as an example of the art of short story writing.

It is concise, sparing in its use of language and well-paced. I feel gripped by it from the outset and the ending takes my breath away every time. There are two main characters, plus a third important one. They are sketched clearly and I have a complete picture of them in my head. Yet there is little time spent on descriptions. It is all about showing. There is little telling.

It has the classic structure of a well-constructed story. One of the main characters has a dilemma. Her husband helps her to solve it. A third party is briefly, but crucially, involved in the solution. A disaster occurs, leading to a downward spiral for the couple's life together. The horror lasts ten years. Then comes the shocking conclusion.

I aim to keep reading it until I learn how to write a page-turner like this. Stunning.

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