« AnteriorContinuar »
Written Especially for Common Sense by Alyse M. Thompson
The man who has an aim, and is game in his pur- ing to bide the time. The impatient man is never the suit of it. Like the professional Marathon runner, he successful one. shows his mettle at the start, and proves his worth at An old Irish miner once advised the superintendent's the finish.
son whom he overheard complaining how long it took, His forcefullness defies defeat.
and how much hard work was required “to rise in the His sincerity inspires belief.
world." "Arrah, me b'y, Oi know of but one way He is trustworthy, yet is slow in placing his trusts. to git an aisy and quick rise in the world, jist light yer
He possesses both brains and brawn, and is afraid cigar and sit down on that powder kig. Yez'll be to use neither.
afther gittin' on and no thruble at all, at all." He shares his friend's woes, not his vices.
The successful man doesn't allow himself to be He doesn't burden his friends with his worries, he hedged round by petty duties and minor affairs until knows they have enough of their own.
they become a habit. He shrinks from expressions of sympathy as he An old lady once told me of a wild bird that after would from a knife thrust, one is as dangerous as the many years in captivity, came into her possession. She other.
was a friend and sympathizer of the feathered tribe, He doesn't carry his ideas on his coat sleeve; so decided at once to liberate the little prisoner. She neither does he bury them so deeply as to require an hung the cage near an open window, and opened its earthquake to shake them from him.
door, then stepped back expecting to see the little fel“He is not taciturn, but he is concise,” as Presi- low go wild with delight in his new found libdent Roosevelt once said of Mr. Knox, who has im- erty.
Instead, he Auttered about, uttering startled pressed many with the gift he has of telling a long cries, and finally returned to his cage. Captivity had tale in few words.
become his habit, from which he could not break, I believe he could give a complete criticism of the and take advantage of this opportunity. “Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire," by Gibbons, The man who would win must be always in readiin three hundred words.
ness. Opportunity always comes unannounced, and is Attend strictly to business, and let the other fellow always in haste to be gone. attend to his, is the successful man's motto.
When Life's great Marathon race course is ihrown Duty and Justice are the principal words in his open to him, he must be there teeming with eagerness vocabulary.
to get into the race. He isn't a partner to the crime of hypocracy, Con- He doesn't play to the grand stand nor start with ceit or deceit, so, when he extends the glad hand to a a spurt, and fall out after the first round, winded. friend, he knows that he means it.
The spurter “in the long run" is always the loser. There is no unfairness or foul blows in his battles, He is like a "sky rocket" that ascends swiftly to quite he deals "straight out from the shoulder" blows, and a height, is luminous for a second, then fades into does not whine when he receives one in return.
nothingness. He realizes that egotism, selfishness, vanity, and Perhaps the eyes of the crowd will be upon that flattery are bad spokes in the wheel of Progress, so he brilliant spurter in the lead, for a time, but as his efeliminates them.
forts become weaker their interest turns to that sturdy 'He is neither too profound, nor is he shallow. chap, who with long steady stride, is coming down Neither is he cowardly, nor aggressive.
the "home stretch," heeding neither jibe nor cheer, he He stands firm for his convictions, even in the face kas an end in view and nothing can distract or divert of ridicule.
him, and he passes beneath the wire confident, coolHe never tries to avoid his friend in homespun, headed—the Winner. But he isn't the only Victor in when he is in company with one in broadcloth.
There are men, who, knowing that the race He doesn't waste his employer's time, nor his own is lost to them, run on with aching muscles, and pass dimes.
beneath the wire-smiling in the face of defeatHe knows how long it takes to succeed and is will- Victors every one of them.
It isn't what a man wants today that makes him money—it is what he knows he may want tomorrow, and gets today.-Exchange.
We come into the world with a mind like a vacant sheet of paper, and all that we add to it we get from those about us, or from things taken in from books.
Selling a Short Story
a Editors of Magazines Constantly on the Lookout for Meritorious Efforts—Chances of Young Authors-Three Chief Errors Which Interfere with the
Success of the Literary Aspirant There are today in this country nearly fifty maga- ranged or told. This is a fault which puts a manuzines that are willing to pay good prices for good script just in the balance. Whether the editor thinks stories. Among them they use about 250 stories a
enough of it to bother further with it is largely a month and buy probably fifty more, which they will
matter of the humor of the moment. It is very much never use.
like the hesitation of a person in buying something Of these 200 or 300 stories marketed every
that is not quite what he wants, but which could be month, about one in fifty is first-class and about one
made to do by spending a little time and trouble on in ten is second-class, a writer in the New York
its alteration. Sun says. The others are purchased and printed be
The third class of failures is stories which are cause the editor must have something to fill in the all right, but are not suited to the magazine to which spaces between the first cover and the advertise- they are sent. This is the cause of nine-tenths of the ments.
failures of inexperienced authors. The editors of the better class of magazines are
Thinks Manuscript Isn't Read continually howling for stories. If they get a good One of the most extraordinary delusions of the story from a writer they follow him
novice in authorship is that his manuscript is not even quests for more. If they see a good story or two in read. One often hears of pages gummed together another magazine they write to the author and ask
as a test, and so on. The reply to this charge is if they cannot have something from him. They are that it is not always necessary to separate the yolk on the watch all the time for any one who has the
of an egg from the shell to find out it is rotten. gift of narrative.
If writers only knew the eagerness with which the These are the facts of the case, well known to
publisher's reader scans every story that comes into the every one in the publishing business. On the other
office from a source they would quickly get side are the theories belɔved by budding authors who
over the idea that their stories were returned unread. feel the germs of genius within them.
Many of the writers of established reputation are The authors of unpublished manuscripts seem to
written out, and the magazine editor is tireless in his have two standard grievances against editors. The
quest for new ideas, a fresh style, an unexploited first is that editors will accept any old thing if the
field. All he asks is that the new story shall fit into writer has a name. The second is that editors will
the style of architecture on which his magazine is never tell an unknown author why they refuse his
The one absolutely hopeless case is the writer who Errors of the Novice
has no story to tell, but who can fill up fifteen pages The antagonism between the aspiring author and of typewriting with a mixture of dialogue and inthe unsympathetic publisher undoubtedly exists. What cident that leads nowhere. Several of the editors is the real cause of it and whose fault is it? With a interviewed spoke feelingly of the time and trouble view of getting at the truth of the matter the writer wasted in wading through this sort of authorship. undertook to get upon speaking terms with the editors “This sort of writer,” remarked a reader for one of fifteen of the leading magazines published in Amer
of the best-known magazines, “reminds me of a young ica and also to make some practical experiments of
fellow who applied for a job in a carpenter's shop his own so as to test the truth of the charges con- and brought a perfectly smooth piece of board as a tinually made against the well-known editor by the sample of what he could do. The carpenter asked unknown author.
him what is was for or what it fitted and found that The result of these interviews seems to prove pretty
it did not fit anything but was simply a beautifully conclusively that if the unknown author cannot get his smooth piece of work, planed and sandpapered, top, story published it is entirely his own fault and that bottom and sides. the faults which lead to his discomfiture
"The carpenter told the young fellow to take it grouped under three heads.
back home again and bring it to him next day with To begin with, the most common fault of all, the a mortise and tenon joint in it, or an O. G. panel on manuscript may be all right, the situations well de- cne side—anything to show what the work on it was scribed and the dialogue clever, but-no story. for.” In the next group of failures are those manuscripts
Requsites of the Short Story in which the story is there, but is not properly ar- "Some people do not seem to understand,” re
marked another reader, "that the short story should same opinion in various ways, insisting that it was be restricted to a single incident. If it is a story of this want of the human touch that caused the readventure there must be only one adventure. If it is jection of 90 per cent of the stories submitted to a love affair it must be only one episode in the magazines. courtship. If it is a character sketch it must deal “A story must act on the reader's feelings as well with one trait of character only.
as on his mind," remarked one. "It must quicken “There is no
mistake made by his impulses somehow. If it is a story of adventure would-be magazine writers than to imagine that a it should be able to carry you along with it, just as short story is a condensed novel. A short story should the audience used to hold on to the backs of the be like a flashlight picture of a single stone being seats in front of them when John B. Gough described laid in the wall. The novel is a description of the the stage coach tearing down hill close to the edge whole building from cellar to roof.”
of the precipice with a drunken driver on the box. The rapidity with which a reader can judge a "The habitual magazine reader remembers a story story is the result of long practice. While it is true that has made him feel long after he has forgotten that an expert can scan a story without reading more those who made him think.” than a third of the words in it, he will never miss the
Pathos Munsey's First Choice story if the story is there. It may be badly told, but if it is a really good story
Frank Munsey classifies stories simply by their the editor will rescue it every time. He will enter
commercial value and puts pathos first, love second, into negotiations with the author to fix it up to suit
adventure third and humor last. himself. Every magazine has men employed for
“Anyone can invent love plots and adventures,"
he says, "and some men cannot put pen to paper Not one in ten of the smooth reading stories that
without being humorous; but the pathetic story is alone finds in the magazines is printed as it was written.
ways from the heart, and if it is genuine it always Unless they are the work of a trained writer who reaches the heart of the reader. Those are the stories knows all the tricks of the trade they have been that are hard to find." chopped and changed around in order to lick them into One of the most common errors of the novice in presentable shape. Unnecessary introductions have authorship is sending his manuscripts to the wrong been cut off the beginning, anticlimaxes cut off the place. The further he is from the right place in his end, superfluous adjectives taken out of the middle selection the longer he will probably have to wait for and descriptions of scenery removed entire.
its return. This delay and the repitition of refusals To the writer was shown one short story printed
is one of the most disheartening things the budding in McClure's, which was a first attempt on the part
author has to contend with, but it is entirely his own of its author. It had been changed four times, fault. He may imagine that all the editors have conforty-eight superfluous words had been cut out by spired against him, whereas there is nothing against twos and threes at a time and six explanatory and
him but his own lack of judgment. argumentative letters had been exchanged between If a man had a patent churn to sell and went author and publisher before the final proof was passed. hawking it among the housewives on the west side All this trouble over a 3,000-thousand word story
you would laugh at him and tell him to take it to the submitted by mail by an unknown author, who had country and sell it to the farmers' wives. If he renever written anything before, and by a magazine that plied that the country was just the same as the city, receives several hundred manuscripts a month and can
all houses and people, you would laugh still louder at command the best writers.
his folly. Yet the author who sends his manuWhy? Because the story was there, and S. S. scripts to the wrong place is just as misguided. McClure knew it the moment he saw it and he rose
The first thing that a new writer usually does is to the bait like a pike. The author was one of his
to send his story off to his favorite magazine or to finds.
the magazine that he hears most highly spoken of. Opinion of Mr. McClure
All amateur actors want to play Hamlet from the "What is the particular element that you imply
start. The high-class, well-known magazines, like as so desirable when you speak of the story in a
Harper's, have to wade through more trash than any
others. manuscript?" the writer asked Mr. McClure. “It must be human and there must be some motive
Amateur's Lack of Judgment in it," he answered immediately. "It may be clev- “A story was submitted to me privately by a erly written; but so are advertisements. Adventure friend of mine,” said one reader. “The author was and incident may be there, but if there is nothing a young lady who did not know that I was emhuman in it no laughter will ever shake the reader's ployed on a magazine. She thought it was the hand, no tear will ever fall upon the page."
greatest thing that ever happened, that story of hers. Many readers who were interviewed expressed the Most authors think that about their first attempts.
"She was in doubt whether to send it to Harper's old magazine, as some writers seem to imagine, what or the Century, as she did not want to offend either
wuld become of this distinctive trait? of them by giving the other the refusal of it. After
Unless a writer who sends a story to a magazine
has studied this peculiar touch that gives the magareading it over I advised her to try it on the Waverly Magazine first and not to expect any pay for it.
zine its character and has written something that fits
in with it he is simply wasting time and postage stamps. “She has not spoken to me since, but I learned
He may have made a beautiful churn, but the woman from a friend of hers that she sent it from one maga
who lives in Central Park West does not think it zine to another for nearly two years, having to copy fits into her ideas of what should be in her houseit again once or twice when it got shabby. The funny
hold. part of it was that she finally sent it to the Waver
Young Authors Unusually Sensitive ly and they used it." There is a young woman in Brooklyn who has just
One great cry of the novice in authorship is that
the editor will not tell him what is the matter with his brought out a book that promises to be a success. She has a classified list of magazines, beginning with
story when it is rejected. This is only half a truth. those that she would like best to publish her stories
The editor would gladly tell him, but he knows the and ending with those that are better than the waste
author would not believe it. The editor of the Popbasket.
ular Magazine told the writer that he once made the She has twenty-five magazines on this list, and
mistake of telling a new writer what was the matter
with his story. every short story she writes is sent to each in turn and upon its rejection to the next magazine in line.
The man seemed very modest and anxious to learn If the manuscript sticks anywhere on the trip, well
and the editor told him the exact facts. Instead of and good. If it is rejected by the whole twenty-five being grateful for this expert criticism, which was into the waste basket it goes.
valuable, the author of the story became abusive and While this scheme may impress some persons as
told the editor that he had never printed such a clever, it is really a confession of bad judgment. It is
good story in the Popular, which was a rotten magalike offering to sell carpenters' tools to twenty-five
zine anyhow, and much more to the same effect. Such different trades, when two or three trades use them,
authors are hopeless, because they will never learn. although all trades use tools.
John Thompson, editor of Pearson's, told the Everyone who hopes to be successful as a maga
writer that one had to be more cautious about menzine writer should buy and read at least one or two
tioning the defects in an author's stories to the author numbers during the year or thirty of the leaders. The
himself than one would be about remarking upon the sort of stories and articles they contain should be
defects in a woman's personal appearance if she asked
In fact he thought the author would carefully studied.
be the more vindictive of the two. “Names” Needed by Magazines
At the same time he had found, when he was Unless his story is of exceptional merit, which of sure that he was talking to the right sort of man, who course every author imagines it is, there are never would not be misunderstood, that he could put his more than four or five magazines that would even finger on the weak spot in a story, and that more consider it. When magazines buy stories from au- than once he had been rewarded by the author going thors with big names they do it for the purpose of home to think it over and bringing him just the kind advertising the fact that the big man is writing for of story he wanted. that magazine and they usually care very little for John S. Phillips of the American Magazine tries what he writes.
authors out with hints, such as that the story would It is the same in all matters of business. When be improved if he began at such a place instead of Albin, the first man to ride a bicycle on one wheel, where the author begins it. If the author watches was engaged by Barnum he wanted to show the pub- the blue pencil cut its way across the page without lic what he could do on a wheel, but the manager Alinching, and sees his beautiful adjectives crossed out told him he could have only three minutes.
without serious objections, Mr. Phillips knows that "We don't care a cent for your act,” the manager the man will stand the gaff and be a success as a told him. “All we want is to show the public that we writer; but when a man fights for a phrase and inhave got what we advertise."
sists on a description that has nothing to do with the The secret of the success of any magazine lies in story, however fine it may be in itself, he is never its individuality. People come to recognize it as diff- going to do. erent from the others and they do noi feel that any These editors all agree upon the one cardinal point, other magazine will take its place.
the writer must have a story to tell and it must be What makes this individuality? The editor's power human. Editors care little or nothing about grammar of selection, his ability to pick out the stories and or style; they have experts to fix that up. What articles that carry out his conception of what a mag- they are looking for is the story that is not from the azine should be. If any old story would do for any head but from the heart.
you about it.
From a Business College to the
Lyman J. Gage, ex-Secretary of the Treasury, is a graduate of a business college and began his career as a bookeeper. Mr. Gage recently said: "Business colleges are technical schools and approximate actual life much closer than the universities, training the youth so he can step directly from the school into a paying position. Their growing recognition is one of the most hopeful signs of the times.
The problem of civilization is to eliminate the parasite—and in the process of elimination the business college today is one of the chiefest factors. The classical education may help you to earn a living and it may not, but business education always does.
And do you know what a business education means? I'll tell you, it means economic freedom. The man or woman dependent on another for bread and clothes is a slave, a slave to incompetence, and that is the bitterest kind of serfdom. Graduates of good business colleges, without exception, have paying positions awaiting them—they do not have to advertise for a place, borrow, beg, steal, nor stand in the bread line. Nicholas M. Butler says:
“It is absurd to sup
pose you can send your boys to college where there are idle and extravagant youths, without their catching from the idle ones some of the bad habits which the idle and extravagant possess.”
So look, you lads, don't shed any of the briny if fate decrees that you cannot spend four years of your young manhood in a university. Take a correspondence course, go to a normal school, get busy in a business college, where everybody is busy, where time is precious and opportunity is prized. Improve your opportunities, that's the thing!
Decide on what you want to do, and what you want to be, and go after it. You'll win, and when you are forty, these fellows who manipulate the pasteboards, inhale cigarette smoke and cram exams., will be coming to you for advice, to borrow money, to have you operate on them for appendicitis, and for passes to the poor house.
Get eight hours' sleep every day, work, smile, study, and health, happiness and success await you. Ask Cortelyou!
Are You Keeping Up With the Procession?
This is the age, not only of the swift runner- end every stitch in them was made by the same slow the hundred meter dash—but more particularly of process. He printed his papers on a hand press, and the long-distance man—the Marathon runner, whose
if he had subscribers in California they would have
received their papers ninety days after publication. wind and muscle and grit are equal to any strain he
In his day the modern battleship was yet undreamed may put upon them. You may not approve of the
of, while one who would have suggested the automopace that is set, but you must either follow it or gen
bile would have been fit only for the mad-house. out of the race and watch the others go by. It Truly, "the world do move." And you cannot hinder doesn't do any good to try to stay in and kick be
it. But are you moving with it, or a little ahead of it, cause others won't wait for you. They can't wait. or are you standing off and watching the procession The pressure behind them is too great. Don't think until the last man passes and you are left to bring up you can follow the pace of 100 years ago and keep the rear? up with the procession of today.
This is the vital question for you. At which end Franklin knew better how to live than any other
of the procession are you? The progress of the world man in his day, but what would he know of the life of
during the past century has been marvelous. But the today? If Franklin were to come back to earth
progress of the world is simply the progress of a few knowing only what he knew while he was here, he
aggressive intellects that lead the world. The last
century would have left the world just where it found would be a veritable wonder on account of his igno
it had not some MAN stood out above and before his rance. Place him on the streets of any large city
fellow men and showed the way for others to follow. and he would be helpless.
But the opportunity called forth the man, and the Franklin never saw a railroad, a trolley car, sub- work was done. way, surface car or elevated.
He never saw But there is more work and greater work to do now electric light or an electric motor. He would not know than ever before, and the men of the past generation what a telegraph, telephone or typewriter was for. cannot accomplish it. Today's work must be done He wrote with a quill, read by the light of a candle by the men of today, and unless we slacken the pace and his meals were cooked in a swinging pot over a set by our fathers, the next century will see accomfire-place. His clothes were spun and woven by hand plishments even now undreamed of. But before the