If you’re into short story writing you probably have a heap of O. Henry’s works on top of your desk, I can picture you have your two palms on your face and staring blankly on your keyboard or have taken it upon your feet and by now have gone to a nearby cafe watching people run by thinking ‘ah, this man’s sloppy er smart personality can be a good character to my next story’. To be honest, finding a good and interesting character that will bind your story together up to the last period of it – is what I find the most difficult part in writing short stories.
But if this dilemma still haunts you, here’s what William Sydney Porter or O.Henry, one of the greatest American Writers that ever set foot on this planet, have to say …
This video is a gem, listen;
“This is William Sydney Porter speaking, better known to you, no doubt, as O. Henry. I’m going to let you in on a few of my secrets in writing a short story. The most important thing, at least in my humble opinion, is to use characters you’ve crossed in your lifetime. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. All of my stories are actual experiences that I have come across during my travels. My characters are facsimilies of actual people I’ve known. Most authors spend hours, I’m told even days, laboring over outlines of stories that they have in their minds. But not I. In my way of thinking that’s a waste of good time. I just sit down and let my pencil do the rest. Many people ask me how I manage to get that final little twist in my stories. I always tell them that the unusual is the ordinary rather than the unexpected. And if you people listening to me now start thinking about your own lives, I’m sure you’ll discover just as many odd experiences as I’ve had. I hope this little talk will be heard long after I’m gone. I want you all to continue reading my stories then too. Goodbye, folks”