Saturday, January 15, 2011

It Was A Dark and Stomy Night...

I have a blog but I certainly don’t consider myself a “writer” in any remotely classical or professional sense. Many of the people who read my blog and comment are very good writers, in my opinion – some of them professional, many accomplished or aspiring. I’m flattered that some of these folks deem my blog worthy of reading.

As I say, a majority of those blogs I do follow I consider to be very well written; though clearly I am no expert on the craft of writing. As with art, all I know is what I like.

Some might argue that Charles Dickens remains to this day, one of the best writers of all time. Those same people might also argue that Edward Bulwer-Lytton is an example of one of the worst writers ever. To the extent that Bulwer-Lytton has been established as the standard of a poorly skilled writer, a reputation promoted in the past comic strip character, Snoopy, an actual contest has been set up in his name where people compete to submit examples of intentionally poor writing.

Recently the publishers of Skeptic Magazine were approached about publishing a scientific paper; A Scientific Evaluation of Charles Dickens. The underlying hypothesis being: is it possible for people to tell the difference between a good writer and a bad writer by reading excerpts of their work?

Mikhail Simkin, Ph.D. in physics devised a test whereby he invited people to read passages from the writings of Dickens and Bulwer-Lytton then select which selections they thought could correctly be attributed to either author. In other words, could people discern good writing from bad merely by reading excerpts of an authors writing.

I won’t keep you in suspense; the answer tabulated to be a resounding NO – roughly 50% were able to correctly attribute the writing samples to their correct author. That is: the ability to determine good writing from bad was no greater than random chance.

The overriding controversy from this experiment actually turned out not to be about determining good writing, but about the limits of what science can objectively study. How can subjective determinations about what is good versus bad art, music and literature be delineated scientifically? Still to this day, there are those who hesitate to consider Psychology and Sociology as true sciences. Yet these two academic pursuits frequently employ data gathering and statistical analysis in constructing theories. Still many see a fine distinction between art and science; areas where they intersect and overlap.

Writing skill may be indeed quite subjective; or more to the point, like in the words of a federal judge who was asked to define what he considered pornography, he said: “I know it when I see it”.

You can take the actual Scientific Evaluation of Charles Dickens test yourself here.

I am enjoying indulging a whim and responding to your comments as would the esteemed Edward Bullwer-Lytton. Enjoy.

52 comments:

TechnoBabe said...

For me, I know what I like, and I know good writing when I read it. Of course, good writing that hits the top mark in my little hippie head.

Culture Served Raw said...

"The overriding controversy from this experiment actually turned out not to be about determining good writing, but about the limits of what science can objectively study"

Excellent post.

DJan said...

As usual, a well thought out and provocative post. I also know what I like and get great satisfaction out of reading the winners of the Bulwer-Lytton contest. But I do believe that any writing taken out of context is useless in understanding the intention of the author. I'm appreciative of anyone taking the time to compose a post that makes me think and delivers a thoughtful premise, with links included. Yep, thanks!

Robert the Skeptic said...

He clutched his morning coffee close to his chest tightly in both hands as he pensivly scanned each line of their comments with eyes still blurry from a night of restless sleep. Blinking hard and intently, attempting further to clear his vision, his gaze transfixed on the words of TachnoBabe, imagining her at her computer clothed in hippie regalia tie-dyed t-shirt and long flowing hair, amusing herself in his post.

But then followed the comment of Culture Served Raw; placing his coffee down onto the desk, moving his face closer to the screen as if the shortend distance the photons were to travel would provide him deeper insight into her words. Why had she chosen to parrot his own words back to him in her comment... was her intent to mock him or to merely bring the phrase most salient to her to the forefront of her point?

But like a child on Christmas morning, his excitement not allowing him to linger least he delay opening the next present, and putting now behind him the artificial warmth which radiated from the inert cup of coffee to the more tangible comfort of his fellow skydiver, DJan, a woman both equally at ease with hurling her body from the safety of an aircraft into the abyss of gravity as she did leaping headlong into cyber space, deftly controlling the trejectory of not one, but two, blogs of her authorship.

Kay Dennison said...

Interesting!!!!

And I think you write very well.

billy pilgrim said...

i find that my attitude has a lot to do with whether or not i'll enjoy an author's writing. at times i'm easily pleased and other times there's no pleasing me. also a good editor can make a world of difference.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Your comment reply is as interesting as the post, and proves your point. Thanks-you got a smile out of me on a day when no one else has. (Ooo-that is bad, right?)

Stinkypaw said...

Whenever I read your posts I feel like my English isn't good enough or something for me to blog in English. Then again, I've read blogs which were far worst than mine (I think). I like what you write, and that (in my little book) makes it food writing.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Turning away from the computer he pondered Kay's brief, but poignent, phrase wondering if she wondered if he had noticed that she had intentionally chosen to opine, in her opinion, that he wrote "well" and not "good"; for as we should know, Superman does does "good" but, in doing so, he also does "well".

But elsewhere, tucked in the safety of his bunker, "Slaughter House 5", Billy Pilgrim pondered what part of his life would he again live over as he jaunted randomly forward and backward in time, reviewing the moments in his life in both third, and first, person. His cold fingers fondled the tiny Dresden figurine as he studied it's delicate contours. "Someday I will blog about this", he thought with a hopeful air.

But even more elsewhere, a woman gazed out the window at the incessant rain... will it never cease, she pondered? Here eyes transfixed like telescopes peering beyond the horizon to to west, as if her gaze could draw into misty focus the green valleys of distant Oregon. Her moment of elation rudely arrested as she realized that it would be raining in Oregon as well. Lowering her head and placing her hand over her forehead, covering her eyes muttered softly to herself, "Why is it I always feel I am in the back row?

But StinkyPaw stared at the monitor in disbelief. Why was it, she sighed, that you NEVER see the typo until AFTER you hit the "Publish" button? But more troubling to her was her doubt over the subconscious origins of her missive - was she merely tired, distracted... or was the specter of her recent diet the latent cause for her to her praise his "food" writing instead of his "good" writing? She would need think on this further, but for now... perhaps a small snack.

Marylinn Kelly said...

I suspect you've had great fun with your responses. The post makes me think of a quote I fall back on, again and again: (I paraphrase) much of what counts in life cannot be counted. And I was too conscious of getting it wrong to take the test. Oh, the horror.

Artist and Geek said...

:)

Robert the Skeptic said...

Test Apprehenson Anxiety Syndrome or TAAS had been a constant and unwelcome companion for Marylinn Kelly throughout her scholastic career; even as far back as Mrs. Martin’s 2nd grade class where, exacerbated by the humiliation from the “apple incident”, the memory of which and had remained steadfastly affixed to her psyche onward through her doctoral studies. Yet throughout her years of study she had managed to convince the literati of her competency through her deft craftsmanship of papers and dissertations. But now fate would falter, and again, faced with the specter of executing yet another test, she struggled to compose the hyperventilation and tachycardia, which rendered her light-headed and unable to blink her eyes simultaneously. Summoning all her resolve and taking up the No. 2 pencil in her delicate fingers, she struck quickly and randomly at the answer sheet with closed eyes, confident that, statistically, she would most likely score no worse than 50%.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Prof. Moresby stared timorously at the envelope recently delivered and now resting provocatively on his desk in front of him… the contents on which his entire career, perhaps even tenure at the university, now lay. It was but a scant three years earlier that his protégé’ had found the fragment during an archeological dig in the Sumerian Desert under the foundation of supposed palace of an Etruscan potentate; it’s indecipherable markings :) veiling a mystery kept secret for 4,000 years. But now, the translation of the artifacts cryptic message, compiled by the scholars the prestigious Champollion Institute of Ancient Chirography in Paris, lay sealed in the simple manila envelope. “No longer will those fools on the board of trustees think of me as just another Artist and Geek” he muttered confidently to himself as he tore open the envelope and read the words which would seal his remaining academic fate – “Dr. Moresby, the inscription reads: Have a nice day”.

Wow, that was awkward said...

I just want in on your comments!

Great post. To each his/her own. I think even my own opinion of a writer changes based on my mood. What if I want to learn something? Or be told a story? Or laugh? Or cry? Moods change. Needs change. I wonder if someone's negative opinion of a writer could change five years later.

Robert the Skeptic said...

He wandered through the aisles of the bookstore as if on a mission but as if having misplaced his map. What, he wondered, am I in the mood for... travel, fantasy, biography? Meandering between the rows of shelves became like wandering through a maze, the categories brought neither enlightenment nor solace but instead heaped even more confusing choices onto a already inclusive brain. Finally relenting, he paused in an aisle at the end of a row of shelves and, then stopping a passing store clerk grasping her upper arm, asked her in a slightly dazed voice, "Can you help me?" The clerk, her bored expression first looking at his hand grasping her upper arm, then turned her gaze to the sign for the section of books on the end of the row of shelves over his head. Following the track of her gaze, he turned and looking up, the sign read: "Self Help". "Wow, that was awkward" he muttered, blushing and releasing her arm.

PeterDeMan said...

Have been thinking about this. I came thru the American public school system. Started out in a two room school. It grew to seven rooms. Then I went to the big school. In the big city. I read some of the classic books like Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood and Twinkie Does Dallas (I think it was). With this background I know good writing when I see it and when I set my mind to it I kin write purty dern good myself.

Robert the Skeptic said...

"Peter", the teacher shouted, singling the boy out in a sharp, shrill voice, "Did you do the reading assignment?". "Yes, Mrs. Fenstermeyer", the boy softly replied, not revealing that he had instead only perused the "Cliff Notes" version of the novel. "Then tell the class, if you please, what was the theme the author was trying to convey?", Mrs. F retorted in her usual doubtful and uncongenial tone. Young Peter stood up next to his desk and tentatively spoke: "Well, Red riding hood represents the Proletariate establishment seeking fulfillment at the expense of society where the Wolf is the embodiment of greedy Capitalistic forces bent on financial domination of the working classes and the conflict which arises from the disparity of resources available to dissimilar trading parties". The classroom fell silent as Peter returned to his seat. But little Janey Hill leaned across the aisle toward Peter and whispered: "Peter, you De Man" as she presses a small scrap of paper containing her phone number into his hand. He would chock this up as clearly a literary victory.

Artist and Geek said...

Prof. Robert Moresby, a chronically compulsive Skeptic and philodox, could not find solace in his coffee that day. Having spent a lifetime waiting for a sign, he remained unsatisfied.

Using home-made distilled Koi excrement, a bunsen burner, an apothecary table and a microscope, he finally deciphered the message hidden within the message:

"Well done. Keep digging. Signed the Ancient". Smiling at last, he poured himself another cup of coffee.

KleinsteMotte said...

A teacher's job is to grade compositions for spelling, grammar, content, unity, etc. Each of you comments present some interesting challenges for the marker. I wonder how the humour might fare? Love this post and the way you are playing around.

Octopus said...

These days, its not about how well you write but about how much $$$ you make. Yesserie! Moolah, baby! Where the action is!

Did you hear the one about the dumb ingenue who wanted to break into movies? How dumb was she, you ask?

She slept with the writer.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Young Robert squirmed uncomfortably in his seat, staring dejectedly at the looming red "F-" on his homework. Mrs. KleinsteMotte had to have been the meanest teacher he had ever had in high school... and besides, what kind of a name was KleisteMotte anyway?? As the bell for next period rang and the students filed out of class, Robert stopped at teacher's desk. "I don't understand, Mrs. K, how could I get an F?" My spelling was perfect, the grammar sound, certainly the content was more than adequate and the story is clearly unified - what's wrong with my composition?" Mrs. KleinsteMotte peered at Robert over the tops of her bifocals and softly spoke: "Are you kidding me, Robert"? Then taking his composition from his hand, read from it aloud: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

Robert the Skeptic said...

It'll be big, a complete block-buster", his agent boomed across the desk, the famous hill top "HOLLYWOOD" sign framed in the window behind him on yet another of prenennialy bright California afternoon. It had been years since he had gotten any good parts beyond simple walk-ons in TV commercials and he was hungry for a good part. "it's a great script", the agent pressed with level of feigned enthusiasm which would surely, at least, earn HIM an academy award, "It's a love story...." Then without waiting for his response, the agent launched into his pitch "... between a squid and an Octopus... it'll be big, I tell ya. You'll be rolling in dough!" Then the agent rocked back in his chair, pulanting his huge feet on the desk and sucked jubilantly on his cigar. "So who is the screenwriter" the struggling actor inquired? The agent turned from his desk, his back to the him and stared out the window, replying, "Bulwer-Lytton"!

lisleman said...

enjoy the info you shared in the post. Writing is an art and acceptance depends on luck and culture. But even more interesting than the post are your comment replies. How long will you keep it up?

secret agent woman said...

I was never a fan of Dickens to begin with, so I looked at the test and decided I didn't like any of the passages all that much. I can't speak to whether i know "good" writing, in spite of many lit classes in college - but I sure know when it is writing I enjoy.

KleinsteMotte said...

When Robert heard Mrs. K reading his face became flushed. "How did she figure it out?" he wondered. Now it was no longer the F that mattered. How would he deal with her now that she knew? He had dreamed about this nasty character and in his dream he had found a way to come to terms with her. Now he would have to decide. Could he do it? Maybe tomorrow?

Robert the Skeptic said...

The young teacher stared at the pile of student submissions, his head reasting on one hand supported by his elbow on the hard oak desk. His other hand lifted the pile of papers, each one individually crafted uniquely be each pupal, some eagerly, some apathetically, others by the acceptance that homework, though perhaps only busy work, must be done. He lifted the first from the pile by a new pupal in class, and poising his red pencil over the document ready to strike, read the opening lines. "who is this clown, Lisleman? he thought to himself? ... And why is greasepaint smeared all over his homework assignment?

Robert the Skeptic said...

Though her university psychology classes she found exciting and challenging, she dreaded the requisite English Lit which she would need to master to graduate with a degree. College had been a default choice after high school and, with no clear goal in mind; she entered the university accepting perhaps, if nothing more, she might secure a government job as a SecretAgentWoman. But for the moment she was interred in the dreaded Lit class where, for the umpteenth time, they would be dissecting "Great Expectations" ad nauseum. "What the hell was Miss Havisham’s problem anyway... the cake, the wedding dress? Move on with your life, already” , as her thoughts became increasingly impatient with the fictional character. As she daydreamed in class, she imagined what she would say to the pathetic Dickens character to help her accept her crushing disappointment and attempt to embrace a new life direction. Oh how she would love to tell that woman… then, sitting upright, as if having been struck by a bolt of lightening, the significance of her psychology classes suddenly revealed with crystal clarity in her psyche: from that moment forward, her career choice had been set – she would devote her life to helping the Miss Havisham’s of the world.

GutsyWriter said...

When I'm tired, which is now sitting in my dad's house outside Paris, I like EASY writing where I don't have to think too hard, and where the story is interesting and entertaining. As a child, I struggled to enjoy reading: one of the major requirements to be agood writer. Now I prefer non-fiction books that take me on an adventure, both physical and emotional.

KleinsteMotte said...

It was tax time again. Sitting perched at his desk Bob, the accountant, stared at the figures he had just penned and wondered if there was anything unusual to be noted. He loved the way the figures seemed to speak to him when he glanced down at them. He disliked reading but not ledgers. Would he find the loop hole? There just has to be one. He hated anyone having to pay a lot to the taxman.

Entre Nous said...

And the writer emerges, even through an opinion... :} Well done. Might I add I have serious problems with statistics. Too many variables with no true way to control them.I took soc. in college and nearly had to kill myself, I was nearly too objective to live through it... :}

Octopus said...

Since my post did not go as planned, I left my homepage and stepped outside for a smoke. ”You’re no Edward Bulwer-Lytton!” I heard that damnable voice over and over ringing in my ears. I was ready to leap off the platform when, suddenly, she appeared, an apparition like an angel, the blond bombshell bound for Bad Kissingen, a gal who knows what she wants.

MartyrMom said...

I can't believe I'm always last :(
I've forgotten what "the dark and stormy night was about"....doesn't matter. I like the short stories best!
I needed your 'brand' of writing this morning!
Thanks for the laughs!!
You Da Man Robert!!

KleinsteMotte said...

You had inspired my creative fun and I just had to try to see how far this could go. Not sure how to take the credit in the follow up post. I did not intend to cause any un easiness. I was enjoying your creative comments so much I could hardly wait for more. The kid in me lives on. But it is an adult world and I learn a lot from many of your informative posts. Thanks.

You've Got to Be Kidding Me said...

I'm going to agree with some of the other commenters (or was it just one?) and say that Dickens was a strange choice. I mean, to ask modern day readers to determine good 19-century writing versus bad is a little more difficult than say, the more simple and direct style of writing in modern novels.

Or maybe I'm just bitter. Ever since I took the English subject test on the GRE I've sort of hated Dickens and all of his blasted characters.

Robert the Skeptic said...

The petite cup of coffee was as comforting as it was warm, as she sat at a small wrought iron table and chair on the back lawn of the chateau. She could just make out the top of the Eiffel Tower in the distance… hewne from the same iron on which she now rested and savoring her coffee, the view… and the book which she balanced in her hand. Already an accomplished author, she was a voracious reader and a Gutsy Writer as well. Her fiction had acquired acclaim from Denmark to Belize. But how would her latest work be accepted by her devoted readers; would they abandon her as she had abandoned fiction? But she had to write… and write from her passion. Only time would tell if her latest work would capture the hearts of her adoring fans. Sipping again her café she hefted the book once again, her delicate fingers tracing the title on the cover: “The History of the Dewy Decimal System.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Robert eyes focused at the computer screen though the focus of his mind lay far beyond the figures in front of him. His mind drifted back to his high school days and Mrs. KleinstMotte’s English class. Accountancy regrettably became his default career as his failure to grasp the seductive allure of fine literature had eluded him. Now his world revolved solely around deductions and depreciations. True, tax accounting could be exciting when the numbers aligned, making it feel as though he had competed successfully against the government, and it’s complex tax code, and won. Still, doubts crept into his brain as he pondered. Then as the figures danced almost aimlessly on the screen, the thought crept into his brain… It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Robert the Skeptic said...

Dr. Baylor continued to grow impatient in spite of the fact that the high speed train rocketed him toward his destination, pensive, troubled... speculating that the culmination of his trip would not go down well once he reached the institute. His gaze lay focused on the scene of the countryside outside the window, evolving quickly as the train sped through the countryside. His concentration was broken by what sounded like the soft moan of a woman's voice. Without turning his head his eyes refocused on the reflection in the window; the semi-transparent image of the young woman who shared his compartment for the brief trip. Fearing to look directly at her, he studied the reflection more intently while feigning to look out the window. Was the faint reflection deceiving him? Was he truly witnessing her hands poised under the folds of her short skirt? But then his pondering quickly derailed back again to impending battle he would wage once reaching the institute; How dare those pompous elites reject my paper on the sex life of the Octopus.

Robert the Skeptic said...

My dear KleinstMotte’s”, the letter read, “You have beaten me at my own game. I shall cease and desist from this moment and return to my comfortable venue of non-fiction. You have indeed gotten the better of me and I accept my defeat. Signed, Robert.” Then taking the letter and folding it carefully, he then sealed it with his well moistened tongue and pressed the envelope closed as if the gesture were to seal his fate as a writer as well, then placed it in the pile of outgoing mail. Pausing briefly in the doorway, he looked back into his office for the last time, shut the light, then the door, leaving behind forever this oddly curious aspect of his life.

Robert the Skeptic said...

"I HATE Dickens", young Robert bemoaned under clenched teeth as he threw the copy of "Great Expectations" on his bed and turned his attention to the television for welcome relief. He flipped aimlessly through the channels finding nothing of interest until he stopped on what appeared to be a movie. There he watched transfixed as a young boy stood with terror opposite a ragged homeless man in tattered clothing. Who was he... an abuser, a zombie? The boy on the screen recoiled in fear and struggled against the man... an escaped prisoner, perhaps? But the scene was cut short as the TV announcers voice broke throug... "We will be returning to our special movie feature presentation, 'Great Expectations', after these brief announcements." "You've Got to Be Kidding Me", Robert moaned as he dejectedly fell back listlessly on to the bed.

Mary Witzl said...

I scored 58% on that test. YAY! I'm 8% over the average.

I think Dickens was a genius and a great storyteller, but I have an awful time slogging through his books. He wrote them in installments and I think he was expected to turn out so many words each time. Given this and the fact that more was more back then, not less, his stories are terribly overwritten by today's standards.

My own perceptions of what is good and bad writing have changed. Ten years ago, I loved John Irving's books. Now they seem overwritten, and I find myself gritting my teeth at his overuse of italics. The more I write, the more discriminating a reader I become.

Robert the Skeptic said...

"What is that you say, I get paid by the WORD?" young Chuck Dickens stood before his publisher, mouth agape. Within moments of the conference he was hurtling home in the hired carriage, pondering the title of what would be his his next epic novel. Already he had penned Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield... his latest and most wordy novel ever would need a far more captivating title and name. Then, in a flash of inspiration, a most most suitable name seared into into his consciousness like a bolt of lightening. Exiting the cab and turning to the driver handing him a $5 pound note he exclaimed in an excited tone: "Away with you, sir, and make haste.. bring me as much paper as you can carry and return herewith straightaway." Then entering his favorite writing enclave and secure in his confidence he had sufficient ink for the task, he rubbed his hands together in glee... for his next new novel Mary Witzl, would be an epic of no less than thirty-two volumes.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Shudder. The "apple incident." Will the scars ever heal? Still awaiting outcome, delicate fingers crossed, of the latest challenge.

What great fun. You are very, very good at this.

Entre Nous said...

Well, I wanted to comment on your most recent post but was unable, might I suggest you do write a novel, as your novellas are quite wonderful... :}}

It's been too cold here to pay attention, never mind think, I am reading my way through this cold snap through everyone's blogs! And this post is great. I hope it keeps going.. :}}}

The Mother said...

I know it when I see it--yes, but--

Many of the so-called classic novels would NEVER get published today, because they don't meet modern standards for writing.

And then there was the famous experiment where a pulitzer prize winning novel (but obscure) was stripped of its identifying marks and sent to agents and publishers--all of whom said it sucked.

So, maybe, no one knows it when they see it, or even when they read it.

secret agent woman said...

Oh no, I LOVED lit classes! I just said I didn't like Dickens.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Mrs. Martin’s 2nd grade class was full of eager washed faces, and none more eager than bright little Marylinn Kelly who dutifully came to class each day sitting in the front row and directly beneath Mrs. Martin's watchful eye... or so she thought. Though eager to please her teacher she most of all aspired to become a writer some day. Yet she was never called upon in class; Mrs. Martin's outstreached arm often waved over little Marylinn's head like a construction crane over a work site. Ignored also was the bright red apple Marilynn would bring for the teacher each day.. and which would remain untouched on the corner of the desk at the end of class. It was on a crisp morning when the class repartee yet again excluded Marylinn that she was struck by inspiration. This time yet again at her upstretched hand being ignored by Mrs. Martin, she grasped the likewise ignored apple and sent it in an arch across the confined universe of the classroom where, having ended its trajectory on it's precisely calculated target, disintegrated against the forehead of Mrs. Martin. Marylinn would find thenceforth she would never be neglected in class.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Rush blared on the stereo playing her favorite song: "Entre Nous" as frost made the panes of the window of the old house translucent like shower glass. The house was old and drafty and it seemed never she would feel warm. The cats were of some comfort, but she had not nearly enough of the felines to cover her body for sufficient warmth. Remaining only the old fireplace, in front of where she was now ensconsed for whatever warmth she could coax. She returned to reading, savoring each the page of the book, as if wanting to commit each to memory. Then, as she finished a page, she tore it from the binding and threw it on the fire. Books truly can warm us in a most literal and practical sense", she thought to herself. And she continued to read throughout the evening as the great works burned and glowed in the fireplace as warmly as in her soul.

Robert the Skeptic said...

"Rejected" she muttered under her breath as she tossed the letter onto her desk with the growing pile of likewise correspondence. Her papers had been submitted to every medical journal she could think of, but all had been returned with the identical terminal diagnosis... no serious journal was apparently interested in publishing her work. "Do they continue to think of me as just The Mother or as The Doctor", she spoke allowed to a nonexistent companion in the room? She had spent years trolling the medical establishment for grant money only to be routinely denied, forced to dip into her children's college savings to fund her research. She knew history was rife with medical quackery, fraud and illiteracy ... but still she continued in her research. "They laugh at me now", she thought, "but I will someday go down in medical history as the first physician to conduct a successful gall bladder transplant," she said with a tone of indignation. Then, grabbing the pain increasing in her right side, sat briefly and stared out the window of her office.

Robert the Skeptic said...

"The facts are not important, he said in a droll tone, not even looking up at her from his desk. "Don't think of it as lying, my dear. It's called Literary License, and we non-fiction authors are free to make generous use of it. Then pausing to look up at her he asked in a questioning voice, "How did you get past security; are you some kind of Secret Agent Woman", his voice now taking on a somewhat fearful tone?

Nance said...

I lucked up on that quiz and scored very high, perhaps because I'm a Dickens fan. The more formal language and studied rhythms of the 19th century suit me. Language and communication meant something different then than it does in this digital age; they embroidered with words as a distinct art form.

We did the same in America. Try reading James Fenimore Cooper or Melville.

I'm a Faulkner kind of girl. Curse you, Ernest Hemingway.

Entre Nous said...

I never cared for Hemingway I thought, as I noticed I did have enough cats to keep me covered and warm.... :}

John Myste said...

Mary, I was too lazy to take the test. I know I am average.

Robert, wow!