Literary

As Far as They Had Got – A “Follow-My-Leader” Story

I just read a very silly story by E. Phillips Oppenheim (1866-1946), William Pett Ridge (1859–1930), Arthur Morrison (1863-1945), Horace Annesley Vachell (1861–1955), Barry Pain (1864-1928), Charles Andrew Garvice (1850-1920) and Richard Marsh (1857-1915). It was originally published in The Strand magazine.

In our May number we published an article entitled “A ‘Follow-my Leader’ Picture,” and in the following pages the same method is applied to the writing of a story, with an extremely interesting result. The story was opened by Mr. E. Phillips Oppenheim, who alone of the contributors was not required to have a complete story outlined in his mind. This opening was then sent to Mr. Pett Ridge, who wrote the next chapter, and also sent a brief statement of the manner in which he thought the whole story might have been completed. These two chapters were then sent on to Mr. Arthur Morrison, who, in the same manner, added his instalment and his idea of the whole story: and so on, chapter by chapter, till the whole was completed. It should, of course, be remembered that each writer had before him merely the preceding chapters of the story, and knew nothing whatever of his predecessors’ proposed methods of ending it. These explanations are given as footnotes to each chapter, and will be found most interesting as throwing light upon the methods of work of the various eminent fiction-writers, and the way in which a story evolves itself in such widely divergent manners in different minds.

I’m not a writer by any means, but if anyone would like to try a project like this, by all means get in touch (jamiesnelling@gmail.com or comment below) and I’ll get it set up!

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