There's a story, attributed to more than one nineteenth-century London publishing house, of a serial writer who disappears in the middle of a story. As he shows no sign of turning up, it is decided to carry on without him. Unfortunately, he has left his hero bound to a stake, with lions circling him, and an avalanche about to fall for good measure. Relays of writers try to think of a way out, and give it up. Then, at the eleventh hour, the missing author returns. He takes the briefest look at the previous installment and, without a moment's hesitation, writes:
“With one bound, Jack was free!”
The rest, as they say, is commentary.
3 thoughts on “A Parable Concerning the Resolution of Narrative Difficulties”
What is the name of this story? Sounds fascinating.
I actually tried to write a story like this several years ago, but when I showed it to my creative writing teacher, he was all aghast, and said that it broke every rule in the book! Well! I like to fancy him overly traditional, but deep down, I think I may just have written a sucky story . . .
this serial writer is my hero :))
i love how this solution not only omits the intervening actions, but also a passage of time. this can work very well for short shorts, too, i think.
I found the story in Boys will Be Boys by E.S. Turner, whose Telegraph obituary can be found here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1524088/ES-Turner.html
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