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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Grist for the Mill » Bertie Wooster on Writing Story Openings

   
Author Topic: Bertie Wooster on Writing Story Openings
MattLeo
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From P.G. Wodehouse's *Right Ho, Jeeves*:
quote:
I don't know if you have had the same experience, but the snag I always come up against when I'm telling a story is this dashed difficult problem of where to begin it. It's a thing you don't want to go wrong over, because one false step and you're sunk. I mean, if you fool about too long at the start, trying to establish atmosphere, as they call it, and all that sort of rot, you fail to grip and the customers walk out on you.

Get off the mark, on the other hand, like a scalded cat, and your public is at a loss. It simply raises its eyebrows, and can't make out what you're talking about.


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JenniferHicks
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P.G. Wodehouse is absolutely brilliant and has no problem whatsoever with knowing where to begin his stories. Bertie Wooster, on the other hand, starts in the wrong place almost every time he opens his mouth.
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Robert Nowall
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I'll recommend here Robert McCrumb's biography, Wodehouse: A Life, from 2004 but which I recently reread.

Or just about any of the Jeeves and Wooster novels or collected stories, maybe in particular Joy in the Morning or The Code of the Woosters.

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MattLeo
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I can see why his biographer chose Wodehouse as a subject. "Bob McCrumb" sounds like the name of an American character in one of Wodehouse's Drones Club story. For that matter "Wodehouse" is a Wodehousian name.

As for Wodehouse being a master of storytelling, he's giving our noses a tweak here. The quote comes from the opening of "Right Ho, Jeeves", and rather than feeding us plot or backstory, he has Bertie meander off into a bit of ironically apropos prattle.

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History
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Then there is

Scream For Jeeves: A Parody
by Peter H. Canon

For those of us who like to invite a little Cthulhu into their Wodehouse.

http://www.amazon.com/Scream-Jeeves-Peter-H-Cannon/dp/0940884607

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MattLeo
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quote:
Scream For Jeeves: A Parody by Peter H. Canon
Hmm. 1994. Talk about being ahead of your time; this guy published fifteen years too early to catch the Jane Austen/Horror mash-up fad of 2009.
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Robert Nowall
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I wonder if it was authorized...
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