Quiroga- traducción final

The Ten Commandments of a Perfect Storyteller

Horacio Quiroga


Believe in a master- Poe, Maupassant, Kipling, Chejov- as you believe in God.


Believe your art is an unreachable zenith. Do not think about mastering it. When you can do it, you will reach it without even knowing it.


Resist imitation when you can, but do imitate if the influence is too strong. More than anything else, personality evolution is a long patience.


Have blind faith not in your capacity to succeed, but in the work ethic you desire. Treat your art like you would your lover, giving it all your heart.


Do not start to write without knowing from the first word where you are going. In a well-developed story, the first three lines have almost the same importance as the last three.


If you want to express exactly this circumstance: “a gentle breeze blew through the trees,” there are not any more words in the human language better than these to express it. Once you are the master of your words, do not worry about what they are or whether they are consonant or assonant.


Do not add more adjectives unless you need to. It will not matter how many sparkly ornaments you add to a weak noun. If you find the most precise noun, only that word will sparkle. However, you must find it.


Take your characters by the hand and bring them firmly to the end, without straying from the path you outlined. Do not distract yourself by seeing what your characters see or what they do not care to see. Do not abuse your reader. A story is a novel purified from waste. Have this as an absolute truth, although it may not be.


Do not write underneath emotion’s empire. Allow it to die, and evoke it later. If you are able to revive it as it was before, you have conquered half the battle.


Do not think of your friends when writing, nor think of the impression that your writing will make. Tell the story as if it will not interest more than the small world of your characters, one of whom you could have been. You should not obtain the life of the story in any other way.


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