W Somerset Maugham was one of the great short story writers. We can learn from his short story technique.
Every writer wants to write better.
Some of my most popular blogs set out tips on how to do this. That is why I have a “Writing about writing” category (see top left), including such gems as:
- #howtowrite: Where to write
- Two great sources of writing inspiration
- 2 sets of brilliant tips on “how to write”
- How to work better: 10 rules? Or not?
- How I write;
- #howtowrite: ViennaWritingInspiration; and
- The 4 elements of the perfect article: Nut-grafs and Cosmic Kickers
The last piece, with the Cosmic Kickers, is my most-read blog this year.
To find out more about these two, see The Russians: Vladivostok
I mention this because this week’s blog consists of three literary quotations of very different styles. One is by W Somerset Maugham, one of the great short-story writers, about his technique.
The second is a bit of comic prose from P G Wodehouse, one of the great comic writers.
The third is prose from Lawrence Durrell, a writer admired in the 1960s for his prose, but perhaps less read today.
Read, enjoy, and – if you are a writer – learn.
I wanted to write stories that proceeded, tightly knit, in an unbroken line from the exposition to the conclusion.
W Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up
‘Must have been a shock for the poor old chap, I mean, barging in and finding you here.’
‘Ever been hit over the head with a chair?’
‘Well, you soon may be.’
I began to see that she was in a difficult mood.
P G Wodehouse, Thank You, Jeeves
With Clea also the new relationship offered no problems, perhaps because deliberately we avoided defining it too sharply, and allowed it to follow the curves of its own nature, to fulfil its own design.
Lawrence Durrell, The Alexandria Quartet
For an earlier “3 quotations”, see here.
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