Posts tagged with "cliche" - Faerye Net 2008-07-17T17:31:38+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Paid by the word 2008-07-17T17:31:38+00:00 2008-07-17T17:33:11+00:00 <p>I&#8217;m beginning to get a little testy about this old saw that Dickens is overwordy &#8220;because he was paid by the word.&#8221; It was amusing when my dad teased me with it in high school; no more. Boz&#8217;s novels were being serialized; magazine fiction is still, overwhelmingly, paid by the word. If the system is so flawed, then by rights these kvetchers must also hate all magazine story-writers from Asimov to Zelazny. I shudder to think what they must think of Dumas, who Umberto Eco informs me was paid by the <em>line</em>.</p> <p>In short, Dickens is Dickens. Florid, earnest, wordy, absurd, circumlocutory Boz, essentially and eternally himself. If you don&#8217;t like him, don&#8217;t seek beyond the truth: you don&#8217;t like Dickens. Why don&#8217;t you read some Hemingway instead?</p> Is asperity quantized? 2007-08-05T13:34:23+00:00 2008-06-03T12:40:26+00:00 <p>Yesterday I heard Edith Wharton&#8217;s &#8220;Roman Fever&#8221; on <span class="caps">NPR</span>&#8217;s Selected Shorts. She uses, as so many writers before and since, the phrase &#8220;a touch of asperity.&#8221; Why is it always a <em>touch</em> of asperity? Not a generous helping, or a tablespoon, or a sprinkling? Does asperity only naturally occur in the amount &#8216;touch&#8217;?</p>