Ladies and gentlemen, poets and poser…er, prosers, have you been accused of writing a shaggy dog story? Do your fish tales smell like your brother-in-law after six months of sleeping on your sofa? Have you been told your latest cautionary tale sounds like a great idea?
Well, the secret to successful short story scribing can be yours. I kid you not. (Would the people who brought you OxyClean and the Cumquat Miracle Diet steer you wrong?) Imagine! With Stickler’s Guide to Writing Successful Short Stories you can learn an esoteric technique that will have you composing canards to astound your friends and make editors grovel at your feet.
For only three payments of $24.95—that’s right, for less than three quarters of a C-note—you can learn how to connect instantly with the reader, keep his interest and give him something important to ponder—not to mention making mountains of moola for your trouble.
Trouble? Did I say trouble? Becoming a riveting raconteur is no trouble at all with The Stickler Technique.
We’ll teach you to:
Set the hook. You’ll grab your reader’s attention in the first paragraph and make him want to learn more.
Let your characters tell the story. You’ll learn to give immediacy to your yarns, to intimately involve the narrator in the action. You’ll pinpoint the protagonist and give your characters distinct personalities - the more memorable, the better.
Make the end matter. Whatever happens or is revealed, you’ll create endings with life-changing consequences for your protagonist.
What follows is an example of what successful application of The Stickler Technique can do for your story.
WHEREFORE ART WE, ROMEO?
"For Heaven’s sake, will you look at this mess? I’ll never get the blood out of this silk. And who's going to mend the hole? It’s all your fault, Montague.”
“My fault? You could’ve told me you were going to take a sleeping potion. I rode all the way home from Mantua, risked my neck defying the Prince’s order of banishment, because I heard my wife’s laid out cold as last night’s pizza, and this is the thanks I get?”
“Well, if you’d stopped to talk to Friar Lawrence instead of murdering my fiancé…”
“Fiancé? How does Paris get to be your fiancé when you’re already my wife?”
“It never occurred to you to say, 'Sorry, Pops, I'm married to Romeo. Too bad you missed it—great wedding night'? Uh…it was a pretty good wedding night, wasn’t it?”
“What? Oh, for Heaven’s sake! It was fine.”
“Fine. Fine? Do you want to elaborate on that? How was it only fine?”
"Well, it’s not like I have anything to compare it with, you know. Unlike you.”
“Me? Rosaline never let me…”
"Then you’re the only one, the little strumpet."
“Nothing. Oh, Romeo, why did you have to drink that poison and ruin everything?”
“Because I couldn’t bear to live without you, sweetums. Why’d you go and stab yourself?”
“Because you guzzled all the poison, you selfish prick!”
“Prick? Yeah...okay. Did it hurt much…stabbing yourself and all?”
“Of course it hurt. It hurt like hell!”
“Uh, Julie? Speaking of Hell, do you think it’s getting a little hot in here?”
"We committed suicide, Romeo. Where'd you think we'd end up? Venice?"
Notice how the characters take turns as narrator by contributing to the discussion (but only one is the protagonist; can you pick him out?).
Notice the story begins a breath before the reveal and the plot and backstory are one and the same. Disguised as a touch of humor, an anachronism (pizza) is injected into the story early to warn the reader that all is not as it seems, but the reader is (hopefully) too wrapped up in the action to take time to ponder its implication.
Notice how employing these amazing techniques makes even the simplest of stories grab the reader by the throat and drag him through to the memorable conclusion.
And this expertise can be yours when you order Stickler’s Guide to Successful Short Stories for only three non-refundable payments of $24.95 (cash, cashier’s check or money order—U.S. funds only—made out to I. M. A. Stickler) sent in care of this fine publication.
Don’t wait! Apply The Stickler Technique to your short stories today!
Note: Page & Spine’s management has no idea where this infomercial came from and takes no responsibility for its content. Profound apologies to William Shakespeare. – N.K. Wagner