Poem: The Amateur Novelist's Guide Book by Youngjohn

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Make your hero handsome, tall;
   A short man will not do;
Poor, always, but in all things else
   Equal to any two.

Per contra, write the Rival rich,
   Ugly, or with a scowl;
Spice with a stern, rich, cruel Pa,
   At poorer prone to growl.

The Heroine of course you write
   The sweetest of the sweet;
An angel quite in every way,
   In all but love discreet.

Mamma must with the daughter side,
   Be constantly a-fretting;
Per opposition to papa,
   The other one abetting.

Put in secret love walks sad
   Atwixt the loving pair;
Tears, sighs, love-vows hard sworn by both,
   Exchange of locks of hair.

Once (only once! mind) break the match
   By a love row separation;
Then put the lass in love consumption,
   Him in desperation.

To save both dying make it up,
   Gretna Green wise fashion:
Then send the girl's pa after her
   In a tearing passion.

The old gent then renounces her,
   Finding himself outdone;
After --- introduce a daughter wee,
   Or a tiny grandson.

Present the darling he or she
   On suppliant knee bent;
Then make the grandpa thus to say:
   "Dear children, I relent."   

For matter more to bulge the book,
   Library volume form,
Dish up your friends and enemies,
   And write of sunsets warm.

Rules general! Indulge extremes,
   And which of course must meet;
The more impossible such are
   The cleverer the feat.

If falls in love some lord or duke,
   The maid should lowly be ---
Who in secret loves some other swain
   Of social low degree.

If vice versa you should write ---
   Want the lady dashing --
Why! make her wear the you know what;
   Let her do the mashing.

Of one thing very careful be:
   Avoid in every sense
Things commonplace or practical,
   Or you will give offence.   

Religion never touch upon,
   'Tis poison to each sect;   
On politics, I would remark,
   Be just as circumspect.

Poetry mind you never write,
   Inspired though you be full;
'Tis to critics and the world as is
   A red rag to a bull.

As others do just so do ye
   (As proved beyond a doubt);
Copy from others others' thoughts,
   Just turned a bit about.

Or, better still --- fast, medium, slow,
   Mix up three novels well;
The characters but just re-name,
   And who the deuce can tell!   

Then, if successful you are not,
   Let this your mind relieve:
'Tis literary jealousy
   Drags fell you may believe ---

Newspaper cliqueism, unfeed,
   (P'raps) editorial spleen ---
Stop! Here of course I go too far,
   Such yet has never been!

But popular should you become,
   Kick up with pure delight;
By one and all will lauded be
   Whatever rot you write.

Au revoir! Success attend;
   A pot should you become,
Please don't forget who taught you how,
   Though doomed fell humoursome.

But humour grim is oft put on
   A lesson to convey;
Home-truths lie hidden under what
   Many a fool doth say.

First published in The Queenslander, 9 April 1887

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 3, 2011 7:33 AM.

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