A Parable Concerning the Resolution of Narrative Difficulties

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”

  1. Dash of Saffron

    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 . . .

  2. 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.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top