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Those Extraordinary Twins by Mark Twain
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by Mark Twain

A man who is born with the novel-writing gift has a troublesome time of
it when he tries to build a novel. I know this from experience. He has
no clear idea of his story; in fact he has no story. He merely has some
people in his mind, and an incident or two, also a locality. He knows
these people, he knows the selected locality, and he trusts that he can
plunge those people into those incidents with interesting results. So he
goes to work. To write a novel? No--that is a thought which comes
later; in the beginning he is only proposing to tell a little tale; a
very little tale; a six-page tale. But as it is a tale which he is not
acquainted with, and can only find out what it is by listening as it goes
along telling itself, it is more than apt to go on and on and on till it
spreads itself into a book. I know about this, because it has happened
to me so many times.

And I have noticed another thing: that as the short tale grows into the
long tale, the original intention (or motif) is apt to get abolished and
find itself superseded by a quite different one. It was so in the case
of a magazine sketch which I once started to write--a funny and fantastic
sketch about a prince and a pauper; it presently assumed a grave cast of
its own accord, and in that new shape spread itself out into a book.
Much the same thing happened with "Pudd'nhead Wilson." I had a
sufficiently hard time with that tale, because it changed itself from a
farce to a tragedy while I was going along with it--a most embarrassing
circumstance. But what was a great deal worse was, that it was not one