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Erle Stanley Gardner tells about his early days as a writer of Western stories:

“When a writer is writing at three cents a word, he is painfully conscious of the number of words. In fact, when I was typing my own stories. I had an adding machine device connected to the space bar of my typewriter, so that every time I hit the space bar it registered a figure on my word counter.

“Without my realizing it, my heroes developed a habit of missing the first five shots, only to connect with the last bullet in the gun. At one time an editor took me to task for this. How did it happen that my characters, who were chain lightning with a gun, were so inaccurate with the first five shots?” I told the editor frankly ‘At three cents a word, every time I say bang in the story I get three cents. If you think I’m going to have a gun battle over while my hero has got 15 cents’ worth of unexploded ammunition in the cylinder of his gun, you’re mistaken.’”

—The Atlantic Monthly

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