example of excellent short story

The French nose triumphed over the Bashkir arrow

“During the course of an exchange of fire, we took prisoner a French lieutenant colonel whose name I have now forgotten. To this officer’s ill-fortune, nature had bestowed on him a nose of extraordinary size, and to make matters worse, this nose had been shot through with an arrow which was embedded to half its length. We helped the lieutenant colonel down from his horse and set him on the ground so that we could free him of this distressing adornment.

A few Bashkirs were among the curious people who gathered around the sufferer. Our medic grabbed a saw and prepared to cut the arrow in two so as to remove it painlessly from either side of the enormous pierced nose, when one of the Bashkirs recognised the weapon as one of his own and seized the medic by both hands.

‘No,’ said he, ‘my good sir, I won’t let you cut my arrow. Don’t offend me, sir. Please don’t. It is my arrow. I’ll take it out myself.’
‘Are you raving?’ we said to the fellow. ‘How will you get it out?’
‘Well, sir, I’ll take one end and pull it out, and the arrow will stay in one piece.’
‘And the nose?’ we inquired.
‘And the nose,’ he answered, ‘the devil take it!’
You can imagine the roar of laughter that greeted his words. Meanwhile, the French officer, not understanding a word of Russian, was trying to guess what was going on. He begged us to chase the Bashkir away, which we did; the affair was settled, and in the end the French nose triumphed over the Bashkir arrow.”

Memoirs of Denis Davidov

Are you good at writing stories, be they fictional or real?

Where do you start?

Photo by Henry Chuy on Unsplash

7 thoughts on “The French nose triumphed over the Bashkir arrow”

  1. Write. You start by writing. Your fingers/pen will tell you what you are interested in. Whether your stories are any good, can only be judged by others. (Your opinions cannot be trusted as you are biased!) I get feedback from my partner. Others use writing groups, others post stuff on blogs and see what strikes a chord, etc.

    When I was dabbling with writing a novel, one weekend 15,000 words were put in place. I was amazed that my characters seemed to determine what they would say and do (a common comment by fiction writers). This is not a supernatural manifestation but a manifestation of a fully involved human imagination!

    If you want to write good stories, write, young writer, write like you mean it!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great story!

    From what little I’ve learned, to begin a story you:
    Jump straight into the scene.
    Make it personal.
    Ensure there is near instant conflict (contention, angst, rivalry).
    Do allude to outside forces.
    Do allude to a prior or future problem.
    Do not try and tie up anything too quickly.

    For instance:

    “How could you do this to your own child?” She stood there, hands on hips, staring intently into his face.
    He lifted one eyebrow and said, “He deserved it.”

    Instant conflict, darkness, personal, allusions to hidden actions and behaviors…

    The more questions the reader has, the more likely they are to continue to read — to find out the answers.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Not necessarily.
        There are two styles of fiction writing: The Planners and the Seat-of-the-pants’rs.

        You could dive right in and the the characters will tell you their story (as you discover them they will evolve and you’ll know what may happen or has happened.)

        Or, you could set to paper a plot, or story arc and predetermine what bad thing happened, and/or will happen. And then work your characters around that.

        More than anything, the act of writing *changes* your brain as you write. You can’t often know previously — what will come out of your fingers — until you begin. So, its the actual act that triggers much of the story. Really.

        (I have theories on this, but I think there’s something to do with dexterous manipulation of the hands and fingers and the brain — from our 200k year history — that instills higher brain activity. All musical instruments, all crafts, all writing, all painting, all sculpture, all are deeply connected in a motion-mind meld.)


  3. Something I’ve learned is to have very deep characters- it need not necessarily be deep thinkers, but those who view the world differently juxtaposed in some fashion. Another aspect that helps is a characters interests and personality type (Meyer-Briggs helps alot).

    Liked by 2 people

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