A Halloween visit with Mr. Poe

Dan Alatorre

We think the modern day style of writing is just that – modern. Grabbing a reader right away and moving quickly to the action.
It is not new at all.
Over 100 years ago, Edgar Allen Poe created some of the basic rules for powerful short story writing.
“First the artist must decide, of all the innumerable effects or impressions, what one shall I select?”
“If the very initial sentence does not bring out this affect, then he has failed in his first step.”
Many of Poe’s opening sentences immediately pull in the setting and the character.
From “The Cask of Amontillado”:

“THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could ; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.”
“The Tell Tale Heart”:

“TRUE! – nervous – very, very nervous I am and had been and am; but why will you say I am mad?”

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