Primera traducción

The Ten Commandments of a Perfect Storyteller

 

Horacio Quiroga

 

I.

 

Believe in a master- Poe, Maupassant, Kipling, Chejov- the same way you believe in God.

 

II.

 

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

 

III.

 

Resist imitation when you can, but do imitate if the influence is too strong. Above all, personality development requires the most patience.

 

IV.

 

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

 

V.

 

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

 

VI.

 

If you want to express exactly this circumstance: “the cold wind blew off from the river,” 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.

 

VII.

Do not add more adjectives unless you need to. It will not matter how many lines of color you add to a weak noun. If you find what is most precise, only that will have an incomparable color. However, you have to find it.

 

VIII.

 

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

 

IX.

 

Do not write underneath emotion’s reign. Allow it to die, and evoke it later. If you are able to revive it later as it was, you have arrived in the middle of the path of your art.

 

X.

 

Do not think of your friends when writing, nor think that the impression that your writing will make on history. Tell the story as if it will not interest more than a 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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