RE: Get to the point?

Subject: RE: Get to the point?
From: "Michael West" <mwest -at- oz -dot- quest -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 4 Sep 2000 11:04:10 +1100

Peter wrote:

> You and I may not think it bad, but most editors I know will never
> read any prose starting with "It was a dark and stormy night." Indeed,
> that phrase is given as the classical example of a trite and hackneyed
> expression.


It WASN'T hackneyed when Bulwer-Lytton wrote it in 1830.
You see, this is where the phrase started.

This is the passage that Charles Schultz used to have fun with
Snoopy's literary pretensions.

What today's readers find amusing about this passage is its
awkward and unnecessary interruption of the near-poetry of the
first the two clauses. By inserting that pedestrian "except at
occasional intervals," the author completely shatters the mood
he has just created.

It takes quite a while for the reader to recover from that knock
on the head, but things to seem to work themselves out
eventually.

The flames struggling weakly against the darkness is quite a
nice image, and entirely in keeping with the mood that the
author intended to create.

Anyway, we don't write like that any more.

Hemingway's followers would just write:

"It rained like hell and the wind nearly blew out the lamp."

--
Michael West
Melbourne, Australia

I imagine that someday there will be a new kind
of sadomasochistic role-playing in which the
technologically adept will pay dominatrices to
treat them like newbies.
-- Dennis Cass (Harper's Magazine, July 2000)






References:
Re: Get to the point?: From: Peter

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