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Questions And Exercises: Chapter XVII. Business Narration

§ 81. Write a narrative of some personal business experience. Keep the verbs all in the present tense. If yon can make it a little more exciting than the example in the text, do so, for the historical present is chiefly appropriate in making some vivid moment live again. Give your story an appropriate title. Revise in the light of sections 1-79.

§82. Write a longer narrative of some business experience, either your own or that of some personal acquaintance; do not get your material from printed sources. Keep the main tenses strictly in the past; do not admit the present at all. Pay careful attention to the selection of events. Omit what is unimportant. Use enough description, and no more, to serve the purpose of the story. If you have to make explanations, make them as terse and clear as possible. When you get to the end, stop; don't add moral reflections or sequels of any sort. Choose a good title. Revise carefully.

§ 83. Write a personal narrative with suspense. If you can't recall any business experience of your own that lends itself to this task, take any experience of your own which kept your nerves on the rack; do not borrow your experience. Remember that you were kept in the dark up to a certain moment; endeavor to keep the reader there until he is entitled to the surprise; and don't give the whole secret away in the title. Revise carefully.

§84. Write a business anecdote with dialogue and suspense. Conscientiously refrain from using printed sources. Remember that all anecdotes spring from some person's experience; in this case the person should be you. If your memory absolutely refuses to yield any business events that struck you as material for a good story - a pointed or humorous tale about three hundred words long - then you may appeal to friends for help. In that case, however, tell the instructor who it was that helped you. Let the dialogue part be as significant as possible, remembering that it is not length that gives point. (There is an old story of a man who confronted a burglar at his window with a gun and the words "You git." The burglar is said to have replied, "You bet." This may fairly be called pointed conversation.) Give your theme a pointed title; like that of the last anecdote in the text. Revise all in the light of preceding chapters, especially Chapter VII

§ 85. Write a short newspaper story of five hundred words. Let it be a piece of actual news, preferably business news. Your choice of subject will be somewhat determined by the audience (real or imaginary) which you address. That audience may be as large or as small as you please. Pay especial attention to the choice of headlines. Revise carefully.


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