The story of my first novel; How a novel is written
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The story of my first novel; How a novel is written

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The story of my first novel; How a novel is written, by Mrs. HungerfordThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: The story of my first novel; How a novel is writtenAuthor: Mrs. HungerfordRelease Date: December 25, 2008 [EBook #27622]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK FIRST NOVEL; HOW WRITTEN ***Produced by Daniel Fromont[Transcriber's note: Mrs. Hungerford (Margaret Wolfe Hamilton) (1855?-1897) "The story of my first novel" (from TheLadies' Home Journal vol. VII No 8 Philadelphia July 1890 p.14)]The Duchess"The story of my first novel"My first novel! Alas! for that first story of mine—the raven I sent out of my ark and never see again! Unlike the proverbialcurse, it did n o t come home to roost, it stayed where I had sent it. The only thing I ever heard of it again was a polite letterfrom the editor in whose office it lay, telling me I could have it back if I enclosed stamps for the amount of twopencehalfpenny, otherwise he should feel it his unpleasant duty to "consign it to the waste-paper basket."I was only sixteen then, and it is a very long time ago; but I have always hated the words "waste-paper" ever since. I don'tremember that I was either angry or indignant, but I d o remember that ...

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The story of myfirst novel; How a novel is written, by Mrs.HungerfordThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere atno cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under theterms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: The story of my first novel; How a novel iswrittenAuthor: Mrs. HungerfordRelease Date: December 25, 2008 [EBook #27622]Language: English*E*B* OSOTAK RFTI ROSFT  TNHOISV EPLR; OHJOEWC T WGRUITTTEENNB E**R*GProduced by Daniel Fromont[Transcriber's note: Mrs. Hungerford (MargaretfiWrsotl fne oHveal"m (ilftroonm)  (T1h8e5 5L?a-d1i8e9s'7 )H "oTmhee  Jstoourryn aolf  vmoly. VIINo 8 Philadelphia July 1890 p.14)]The Duchess"The story of my first novel"My first novel! Alas! for that first story of mine—theraven I sent out of my ark and never see again!Unlike the proverbial curse, it did not come hometo roost, it stayed where I had sent it. The onlything I ever heard of it again was a polite letterfrom the editor in whose office it lay, telling me Icould have it back if I enclosed stamps for theamount of twopence halfpenny, otherwise he
should feel it his unpleasant duty to "consign it tothe waste-paper basket."I was only sixteen then, and it is a very long timeago; but I have always hated the words "waste-paper" ever since. I don't remember that I waseither angry or indignant, but I do remember that Iwas both sad and sorry. At all events, I never sentthat two-pence half-penny, so I conclude my firstMS. went to light the fire of that heartless editor.So much comfort I may have bestowed on him, buthe left me comfortless; and yet who can say whatgood he may not have done me? Paths made toosmooth leave the feet unprepared for rougherroads. To step always in the primrose ways isdeath to the higher desires. Yet oh, for the hours Ispent over that poor rejected story, beautifying it(as I fondly, if erroneously, believed), adding aword here, a sentiment there! So conscientiously-minded was I, that even the headings of thechapters were scraps of poetry (so called) done allby myself. Well, never mind. I was very youngthen, and as they say upon the stage, I "meantwell."For a long twelvemonth after that I never dreamedof putting pen to paper. I had given myself up, as itwere. I was the most modest of children, and fullydecided within myself that a man so clever, as areal live editor must needs be, could not have beenmistaken. He had seen and judged, and practicallytold me that writing was not my forte. Yet theinevitable hour came round once more. Once againan idea caught me, held me, persuaded me that Icould put it into words. I struggled with it this time,but it was too strong for me, that early exhilaratingcertainty that there was "something in me," aspeople say, was once more mine, and seizing mypen, I sat down and wrote, wrote, wrote, until theidea was an object formed. With closed doors Iwrote at stolen moments. I had not forgotten thequips and cranks uttered at my expense by mybrother and sister on the refusal of that last-firstmanuscript. To them it had been a fund of joy.In fear and trembling I wrote this second effusion,finished it, wept over it (it was the most lachrymoseof tales), and finally under cover of night inducedthe house maid to carry it to the post. To that firstunsympathetic editor I sent it (which argues adistinct lack of malice in my disposition), and oh,joy! it was actually accepted. I have written many athing since, but I doubt if I have ever known againthe unadulterated delight that was mine when myfirst insignificant check was held within my hands.
=====================================================================[WTroalfnes cHraibmeirlt'so nn)o (t1e:8 5M5r?s-. 1H89u7n)g "erHfoorwd  a( Mnaorvgeal risetNwroi tt2e Pn"h i(lfardoemlp Thihae  JLaanduiaersy'  H18o9m0e  pJ.1o1u)r]nal vol. VIIThe Duchess"How a novel is written"The characters in my novels, you ask how Iconceive them? Once the plot is rescued from themisty depths of the mind, the characters come andrange themselves readily enough. A scene, we willsay, suggests itself—a garden, a flower show, aball-room, what you will—and two people in it. Ayoung man and woman for choice. They arealways young with me, for that matter, for what,under the heaven we are promised, is soaltogether perfect as youth! If any one of you, dearreaders, is as bad a sleeper as I am, you willunderstand how thoughts swarm at midnight. Busy,bustling, stinging bees, they forbid the needed rest,and, thronging the idle brain, compel attention.Here in the silent hours the ghosts calledcharacters walk, smiling, bowing, nodding,pirouetting, going like marionettes through all theirpaces. At night I have had my gayest thoughts, atnight my saddest. All things seem open then tothat giant, Imagination. Here, lying in the dark, withas yet no glimmer of the coming dawn, no faintestlight to show where the closed curtains join, tooindolent to rise and light the lamp, too sleepy to putone's foot out of the well-warmed bed, prayingfruitlessly for that sleep that will not come—it is atsuch moments as theses that my mind lays hold ofthe novel now in hand, and works away at it with avigor, against which the natural desire for sleephopelessly makes battle.Just born this novel may be, or half completed;however it is, off goes my brain at a tangent.Scene follows scene, one touching the other; thecharacter unconsciously falls into shape; the villaintakes a rudy hue; the hero dons a white robe; asfor the heroine, who shall say what dyes fromOlympia are not hers? A conversation suggestsitself, an act thrusts itself into notice. Lightest ofskeletons all these must necessarily be, yet theymake up eventually the big whole, and from thebrain wanderings of one wakeful night three of four
chapters are created for the next morning's work.As for the work itself, mine is perhaps strangelydone, for often I have written the last chapter first,and founded my whole story on the one episodethat it contained.End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The storyof my first novel; How a novel is written, by Mrs.Hungerford*E**B OEONKD  FOIFR STTH INS OPVREOL;J EHCOT WG WUTREITNTBEENR *G***2*7*6**2 2T.hziisp  f*il*e* *s* hTohuilsd  abne dn aallm aesds o2c7i6at2e2d.t fxitl eosr ofhvtatrpi:o//uws wfowr.mguattes nwbilel rbg.eo frogu/2n/d7 /i6n/:2/27622/Produced by Daniel FromontUpdated editions will replace the previous one—theold editions will be renamed.Creating the works from public domain printeditions means that no one owns a United Statescopyright in these works, so the Foundation (andyou!) can copy and distribute it in the United Stateswithout permission and without paying copyrightroyalties. Special rules, set forth in the GeneralTerms of Use part of this license, apply to copyingand distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronicworks to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tmconcept and trademark. Project Gutenberg is aregistered trademark, and may not be used if youcharge for the eBooks, unless you receive specificpermission. If you do not charge anything forcopies of this eBook, complying with the rules isvery easy. You may use this eBook for nearly anypurpose such as creation of derivative works,reports, performances and research. They may bemodified and printed and given away—you may dopractically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.Redistribution is subject to the trademark license,especially commercial redistribution.*** START: FULL LICENSE ***PTLHEE AFSUEL LR EPARDO JTEHICST  BGEUFTOERNEB YEROGU  LDIICSETRNISBEUTE
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