"The Dancing Master's Music," by William Trevor. The story appeared in his collection A Bit on the Side. I'm now reading Trevor's My House in Umbria, and this morning while waiting for Sophia to cut my hair, I read this piece of writing advice by Trevor's narrator, Mrs. Emily Delahunty:
"To compose a romance it is necessary to have a set of circumstances and within those circumstances a cast of people. As the main protagonists of a cast, you have, for instance, Jason and Maggie and Maggie's self-centered sister, and Jason's well-to-do Uncle Cedric. The circumstances are that Jason and Maggie want to start a riding stables, but they have very little money. Maggie's sister wants Jason for herself, and Jason's Uncle Cedric will allow the pair a handsome income if Jason agrees to go into the family business, manufacturing girder rivets. You must also supply places of interest--in this instance the old mill that would make an ideal stables, the little hills over which the horses can be exercised, and far away--darkly unprepossessing--the family foundry. You need dramatic incident: the discovery of the machinations of Maggie's sister, the angry family quarrel when Jason refuses to toe his Uncle Cedric's line. Noe of it's any good if the people aren't real to you as you compose."