Tuesday, August 19, 2008

avalanche of power

Charles Dickens to W. Wilkie Collins

Gad's Hill Place.
Higham by Rochester, Kent,
Friday, Twenty-third August, 1867.

My Dear Wilkie, ---I have done the overture, but I don't write to make that feeble report.

I have a general idea which I hope will supply the kind of interest we want. Let us arrange to culminate in a wintry flight and pursuit across the Alps, under lonely circumstances, and against warnings. Let us get into all the horrors and dangers of such an adventure under the most terrific circumstances, either escaping from or trying to overtake (the latter, the latter, I think) some one, on escaping from or overtaking whom the love, prosperity, and Nemesis of the story depend. There we can get Ghostly interest, picturesque interest, breathless interest of time and circumstance, and force the design up to any powerful climax we please. If you will keep this in your mind as I will in mine, urging the story towards it as we go along, we shall get a very Avalanche of power out of it, and thunder it down on the readers' heads.
Ever affec'ly, C. D.
[image of Charles Dickens found at The Victorian Web]
[Dickens and Collins were collaborating on No Thoroughfare, the last of their Christmas Numbers, and one that came out as a play during the same period.]

-from the Letters of Charles Dickens to Wilkie Collins edited by Laurence Hutton (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1891) p. 143-44.

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