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Chapter 19. What Is Style, and How Do I ... > The 3C's: Consistency, Coherence, Cl... - Pg. 194

What Is Style, and How Do I Get Some? A skillful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, he has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having conceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he then invents such incidents--he then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect. If his very initial sentences tend not to the outbringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step. In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design. ... Undue brevity is just as exceptional here as in the poem, but undue length is yet more to be avoided. --From Poe's review of Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales, May 1842 194 Take My Word for It It's true that Edgar Allan Poe was found dead in a gutter, battered, wearing someone else's clothes. It's also true that he was orphaned before he was three years old and adopted by John Allan, a wealthy businessman. Poe did indeed marry jailbait, his 13-year-old cousin Virginia Clemm. It's also likely that he ingested every illegal substance short of plutonium. These details paint the picture of an eccentric fella, maybe even a mad- man, but here's the truth: Edgar Allan Poe was more insecure than haunted, his life more destitute than mad. Consistent writing also maintains the same point of view. The writer does not switch from the first-