Thursday, March 29, 2018

Telegraphic Description

And, of course, no digression into matters of style is complete without some negative examples:

The Planetary Defense Commander describes a common affliction in science fiction:
Anyway, what I really can’t deal with in this book is a writing style that:
  1. Treats the reader like he/she has brain damage.
  2. Breaks the flow of the story.
I’ve been seeing this style from a lot of indie authors lately, but this is the first traditionally-published novel that I remember seeing it in.  I’ve mentioned it before in my review of a novel by Evan Currie, and I think it may have been present in the two books I DNFed before this one. 
I listened to the novel while driving, so I don’t have quotes, but here’s my impression of the writing style, during a scene where a character is fleeing armed hijackers in a spaceship’s engine room: 
Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a toolbox.  The toolbox would probably have tools inside it.  The crew would need tools to maintain the ship’s engines.  Without engine maintenance, the engines might stop running, and then the ship wouldn’t be able to reach its destination. 
Meanwhile, I’m driving, yelling at my car’s speakers, “STFU!  Toolbox!  All you had to say was toolbox!  I know what a #%*(# toolbox is for!  Wasn’t someone chasing you with a gun?  STFU!”
To which the comments expand further:
I sometimes call it telegraphic description, which I guess is similar to blow-by-blow descriptions, and it’s pretty common in starting or amateur writers: if some character opens a door, this kind of writer will tell you that he placed the hand on the knob, clutched it, and then turned it. 
By the way, you are cursed now, you have noticed it and now you will see it everywhere. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Conversations on Style

I'm not the only one talking about style these days in our little corner of the pulp world. Style is a hot-button conversation right now. Much as with Appendix N, the conversation is less which style is correct, but that something is missing in the current fashions of the day. 


The Frisky Pagan weighs in on the right proper use of profanity--and the abuse of it in science fiction:
A few hours ago, in a sudden masochistic impulse, I went to the website of the science fiction & fantasy magazine Uncanny and clicked on their latest story. I read a few sentences and, as expected, recoiled in horror. But something else happened: I became painfully aware of something that, although I had noticed before, I had never managed to hold onto as a concrete thought: these fucking fuckers swear too fucking much. 
I can already hear the usual howling: “Why are you curtailing our style! That’s how people talk!” First of all, you have no style, which is why all your stories are the same and you have to pad them out with fucks, references to Trump, and silly nonsense.
I can't help but be reminded of Orson Scott Card's observation on the juvenile nature of shock.


Misha Burnett continues his series on poetry for the prose writer with a discussion of meter:
English, as I said in my last article, is a stressed language. Syllables in english words are either stressed or unstressed, and when you string a bunch of English words together to make a sentence you can plot the rhythm of the sentence by marking the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. 
This is called meter, and poetry geeks divide meter into metrical feet of two syllables and give each type a name. Two unstressed syllables is a dibrach, an unstressed followed by a stressed is called an iamb, a stressed followed by an unstressed is called a trochee, and two stressed syllables is called a spondee.
To put that into context, let’s turn to Shakespeare, from Hamlet’s famous soliloquy: 
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprise of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Misha Burnett: Poetry for Writers: What Not to Read

As the ongoing conversation on prose style develops, many writers have been turning to the old advice of reading poetry. However, poetry has a diminishing part of the English language for years now, leaving a daunting task for those looking for an introduction to the art form. Where to begin?

Misha Burnett offers some advice to help narrow down that task;
This series of articles will be focusing on poetry strictly as an aid for developing a fiction author’s feel for composition and rhythm with an eye for producing more readable prose. Consequently, I will be discussing different forms on the basis of how they suit that end, and leaving aside the weightier issue of what is good poetry or (horrors!) What Is Poetry? 
With that in mind, I advise avoiding the following not because they are bad (I’ll be adding some of my favorites to the codex expurgatorius) but because they are not helpful. 
First, don’t read Blank Verse. 
I’ll be honest, if I were suddenly granted Godlike powers I would prevent any poet from writing Blank Verse until she or he could prove mastery of at least three different strict forms.  When Modernist masters (people like cummings, Eliot, and Pound) wrote Blank Verse they wrote in a way that concealed the deep structure (what Baudelaire called “the secret architecture”) of the poem. The rhythm of the language overwhelms the layout on the page. 
Modern poets, for the most part, write Blank Verse to avoid the bother of having any structure whatsoever, deep or shallow. They write Blank Verse not because it is an advanced way of using the language but because rhyme and scansion are hard work. 
Sadly, it can be very difficult to tell the difference between verse which is beyond formal structure and verse that is beneath it until you have a solid grasp of poetic structure. So I advise authors who are trying to learn how to use the structure of language in prose to avoid Blank Verse altogether. 
Second, don’t read Non-English Poetry. 
Unless, of course, you plan on writing prose in other languages. 
Check out the rest of Misha's article.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Parataxis and Hypotaxis

Style, again. This time, rhetorical devices, including Hemingway's simple style:
Parataxis is the natural way of speaking English. It’s the way English wants to be spoken. English is a basically uninflected language. Everything depends on the word order. It’s all subject verb object. The man kicked the dog. The cat sat on the mat. The angels have the phone box. In Latin and German it’s different. Words can be moved around, but you still understand the sentence because of the endings. “Nauta amat puellam” and “Puellam nauta amat” both mean “The sailor loves the girl.” English isn’t like that. It’s paratactic. It’s linear. It’s one sentence. Then it’s another. 
The alternative, should you, or any writer of English, choose to employ it (and who is to stop you?) is, by use of subordinate clause upon subordinate clause, which itself may be subordinated to those clauses that have gone before or after, to construct a sentence of such labyrinthine grammatical complexity that, like Theseus before you when he searched the dark Minoan mazes for that monstrous monster, half bull and half man, or rather half woman for it had been conceived from, or in, Pasiphae, herself within a Daedalian contraption of perverted intention, you must unravel a ball of grammatical yarn lest you wander forever, amazed in the maze, searching through dark eternity for a full stop. 
That’s hypotaxis, and it used to be everywhere. 
Forsyth, Mark. The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase (pp. 60-62). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 
Forsyth blames the Romantics for turning away from hypotaxis, with their search for all things natural in speech.
Hypotaxis is unnatural in English; nobody would ever say a sentence like the one above. You have to think calmly for a long time to come up with a good hypotactic sentence, and so a good hypotactic sentence tells the reader that you have been thinking calmly for long time. 
Forsyth, Mark. The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase (p. 64). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 
Those looking for an alternative to Hemingway's style might consider the layers of subordinate clauses found in hypotaxis. But beware, it will be a hard sell for such writing to pass the ear test.

UPDATE: Out on social media, Neal gives a useful application of how to use both parataxis and hypotaxis:
Formula for a great speech to an audience of all educational levels. Parataxis with Anglo-Saxon (PAS) words. Restatement and addition of new information in hypotactic structure with introduction of latinate words. Restatement of new information in PAS. Iterate, finishing in parataxis.

Also, parataxis and hypotaxis are not rhetorical devices, such as, say anaphora, aposiopesis, chiasmus, or homeoteleuton are. The are syntactical forms, the use of which (along with assorted devices) can be used to characterize a style.

I believe the shorthand way of referring to ensembles of rhetorical style, back when people had more classical educations, where Ciceronian (hypotactic) and Senecan (paratactic).
 Note how he connects English's dual vocabulary to rhetorical effects--and famous public speakers.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Three Kinds of Science Fiction

Let's digress from style for a moment to consider science fiction as a whole. I've been growing dissatisfied with the hard sf vs. soft sf spectrum as it is misleading at best, and a slur at worst. Soft sf as a term is linked to the soft sciences, and as Anderson's "Uncleftish Beholding" or Heinlein's Starship Troopers show, can possess the same rigor as expected in hard sf. Hal Clement's game of making fewer mistakes merely changes from physics and engineering to psychology and sociology. And where does that leave space opera, which uses the future as a milieu instead of as a vehicle for exploration of theory? Star Trek, Jack Vance, Asimov's Foundation, and Halderman's The Forever War may hide social commentary and theories of societal change behind rockets and rayguns, but Star Wars is pure adventure.

An alternative can be found on TV Tropes:

In 1953, Isaac Asimov published an article titled "Social Science Fiction" in Modern Science Fiction. In that article, he stated that every science fiction plot ultimately falls into one of three categories: Gadget, Adventure, or Social.
  • Gadget: The focus of the story is the invention itself: How it comes to be invented, how it works, and/or what it is used for. The invention is the end result of the plot.
  • Adventure: The invention is used as a dramatic prop. It may be the solution to a problem, or it may be causing the problem itself, but the main focus is on the caper and how the invention's presence helps or hinders it.
  • Social: The focus of the story is on how the presence of the invention affects people's daily lives, whether for good or for ill. The chief distinction between this and the other two types is that the presence of the invention influences the plot rather than causing it or being the goal.

To demonstrate what he meant by each, he used the example of three different late nineteenth century authors all being inspired to write new stories about the automobile, each going in one of three directions:
Writer X spends most of his time describing how the machine would run, explaining the workings of an internal-combustion engine, painting a word-picture of the struggles of the inventor, who after numerous failures, comes up with a successful model. The climax of the yarn is the drama of the machine, chugging its way along at the gigantic speed of twenty miles an hour, possibly beating a horse and carriage which have been challenged to a race. This is gadget science fiction. (Asimov, "Social Science Fiction")
Writer Y invents the automobile in a hurry, but now there is a gang of ruthless crooks intent on stealing this valuable invention. First, they steal the inventor's beautiful daughter, whom they threaten with every dire eventuality but rape (in these adventure stories, girls exist to be rescued and have no other uses). The inventor's young assistant goes to the rescue. He can accomplish his purpose only by the use of the newly perfected automobile. He dashes into the desert at an unheard-of speed of twenty miles an hour to pick up the girl who otherwise would have died of thirst if he had relied on a horse, however rapid and sustained the horse's gallop. This is adventure science fiction. (ibid.)
Writer Z has the automobile already perfected. A society exists in which it is already a problem. Because of the automobile, a gigantic oil industry has grown up, highways have been paved across the nation, America has become a land of travelers, cities have spread into the suburbs—and what do we do about automobile accidents? Men, women, and children are being killed by automobiles faster than by artillery shells or airplane bombs. What can be done? What is the solution? This is social science fiction. (ibid.)

Asimov's theory explains the split between Verne's technological adventures and Wells' scientific-marvelous, as the latter's speculation into the unknown inevitably means changes to society--and thus becomes social science fiction.

It also explains the change in fashion brought on by Campbell and his descendants, as prior to Campbell's run at Astounding, science fiction stories tended to be adventures or Gernsback-inspired gadget stories. Campbell and his New York clique accelerated an existing preference for social science fiction (see: scientific-marvelous) into the dominant form for English markets. Those who did not or would not make the shift from adventure to social science fiction were ridiculed by the social science fiction writers, like in Asimov's inaccurate swipe at adventure stories above--and eventually excluded.

Finally, the three kinds of science fiction provide a framework for understanding why many popular works have such a "devastating effect upon science fiction as Gold and Campbell and Knight and Sturgeon and Kornbluth and the other Futurians loved and built it." Since Campbell, the primary form of science fiction has been social. But adventure science fiction has been beating down the doors, from classics from the past, the rise of new subgenres, new media franchises, and exposure to science fiction from other languages. Knight-style social science fiction does not hybridize well with adventure in the same way as Campbelline, French, and Japanese social science fiction, and its advocates maintain a frantic rearguard action to keep the adventuresome barbarians from the gates.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Double Vocabulary of English

Style, again.

As mentioned earlier, English has parallel vocabularies, based on the origin of the root words, such as the Germanic "drink" and the "Norman beverage".  In gross terms, the Germanic version is more forceful and everyday, the French more sophisticated, and the Latin and Greek more scholarly. (There are exceptions. This is English we're talking about. There's always an exception.)

Here's a video explaining more about these parallel tracks.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Yep, back to style.
Little things make a mighty stir in little towns, which is why that Kingsford folk talked all that spring and summer about the three unacknowworth bodies, frightful cut as with many seaswords, and frightful twisted as by the tread off many ruthloose bootheels, which the tide washed in. And some folk even spoke off things paltry as the forsaken roadwain found in Ship Road, or true unmennish screams, most likely off a lost wight or northfaring bird, heard in the night by wakeful burgars. But off this idle town gossip the Fearful Old Man took no heed at all. He was by lund withdrawn, and when one is old and weak, one’s withholding is twice as strong. Beside, so eldern a seaheadman must have witted scores off things much more stirring in the faroff days off his unbethought youth.
--H. P Lovecraft, "The Fearful Old Man" 
Meet Anglish, the deliberate pruning from English of all those pesky loan words our magpie language has hoarded away over the centuries. Like the competing trend among grammarians to force Latin grammar on a Germanic language, Anglish is an attempt to shift English into an aesthetically "purer" form, conveniently ignoring the language as it is spoken.

But, for the writer, it provides an interesting exercise in style and word choice. English might be Germanic in origin, but it is also a blend of French, Latin, and Greek, owing to a mix of English peasants, Norman French nobles, and Latin-speaking clergy. This has built up parallel vocabularies, based on the origin of the root words, such as the Germanic "drink" and the "Norman beverage".  In gross terms, the Germanic version is more forceful and everyday, the French more sophisticated, and the Latin and Greek more scholarly. (There are exceptions. This is English we're talking about. There's always an exception.)

Anglish allows a writer to better understand connotation and the interplay of how language of origin affects word choice. In most cases, this is a mere writing exercise, but attempts are underway to convert such works as Shakespeare's plays, Lovecraft's Mythos, and famous orations into this more Germanic form.

Perhaps the prized example of Anglish comes from science fiction. Appendix N alumnus Poul Anderson explained atomic theory in his "Uncleftish Beholding" in one of the occasional thought exercises that sneak into science fiction. Here's how an Anglish speaker might explain the ways of worldken:
For most of its being, mankind did not know what things are made of, but could only guess. With the growth of worldken, we began to learn, and today we have a beholding of stuff and work that watching bears out, both in the workstead and in daily life. 
 The underlying kinds of stuff are the *firststuffs*, which link together in sundry ways to give rise to the rest. Formerly we knew of ninety-two firststuffs, from waterstuff, the lightest and barest, to ymirstuff, the heaviest. Now we have made more, such as aegirstuff and helstuff.
That said, Anglish has survived as a concept for over 300 years, but has never truly caught on beyond scholarly and writing exercises.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Casablanca and Writing.

Dialogue. Much of this movie’s classic lines were written on the fly, or improvised (“Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.”). But what stands out to be is how each character in Casablanca speaks in a unique way, and there is not a wasted line of dialogue. 
Every word uttered in this movie had to be spoken. The dialogue is snappy without sounding forced, particularly Bogart’s lines and his delivery. The responses characters give sound unique without seeming too clever. 
Lesson: Trim the fat. Sometimes us writers try to make things sound more “realistic” with “Well” and “so” and “um” and lots of ellipses. But it doesn’t work in movies, and it doesn’t work in print. 
And think through how your characters speak: Do they have certain verbal tendencies? Say very little? Offer quips or asides? Everyone should sound different without sounding written. It’s difficult, but watching Casablanca, you can get an idea of how it’s done.
Soon after, Brian Niemeier explained one of the enduring legacies of Casablanca, the Hollywood formula:
The Hollywood Formula utilizes three archetypal characters whose interrelationships drive the story across three acts. 
The Protagonist — the character whose pursuit of a goal drives the story. The goal must be concrete, definable, and achievable. Not "I want to be happy" or "I want to be rich", but rather, "I want him to fall in love with me so that I will be happy." "I want to win the game show that I'm going to be on so that I will be rich." 
The Antagonist — the person who places obstacles between the protagonist and his goal. The antagonist is not necessarily a villain. The antagonist's goals may be diametrically opposed to, or even the same as, the protagonist's. 
The Relationship Character — accompanies the protagonist on his journey. Typically a more experienced character who has wisdom to share with the protagonist, which the protagonist rejects at first. The theme of the story, what the protagonist needs to understand in order to succeed, is expressed either by or to this character. In many cases, this happens as part of an actual conversation. At the end of the story, this conversation or expression of the theme will be revisited, and the protagonist and this character will reconcile with each other. 
The story ends when the protagonist achieves or relinquishes his goal, defeats or is defeated by the antagonist, and reconciles with the relationship character. The closer together these things happen, the more emotional impact the story will have.
 While most common writing formulas are plot centered, the Hollywood formula is instead centered on the relationships of the story. And while Hollywood tends to blend the relational formula with traditional three act structure, the Hollywood formula can be used to complement any plot structure.

But don't take my word for it. Check out both articles and learn from a classic.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Clave: A Contrast

Fourth in a series on style:

As mentioned earlier, language has an effect on music and thus poetry. In the previous post, we listened to the shuffle, the expression of syncopation in English popularized by Afro-American musicians.

Below is a video on the clave, the Afro-Cuban expression of syncopation in Spanish. It is a five-beat rhythm that does not match the two-syllable heartbeat of the English iamb. Instead, the pattern lends itself to the more lyrical Romance languages. This disparity between an odd-numbered rhythm and English's even-numbered heartbeat also explains why English language haiku is lacking when it attempts to follow the 5-7-5 syllable pattern of the Japanese form.

The lesson here for the stylist is to match the rhythm to the native pulse of the language.

The Shuffle

More groundwork for the musicality of style.

It comes as no surprise that the language that built its lyrical poetry on the da dum heartbeat rhythm of the iamb would popularize the same rhythm in the swings and shuffles of blues and jazz.

Listen to the bass in the video below for the same heartbeat rhythm in Shakespeare's Sonnet 18:
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
It takes a little work, but you can sing the sonnet at tempo to the accompaniment of Freddie King and have it retain the life of spoken language without sounding like a robot--or an elementary school language arts teacher. The challenge is to keep the recitation from sounding rote.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Missing Letters: Thorn

Here is a second video laying groundwork for a discussion of style.

Another example of stylistic shift over time affecting pronunciation and thus meter.

Of particular interest here, is the letter "thorn", a strange letter that looks like a lowercase "b" mashed with a "P" (check the video for an example). This letter did not survive the onset of printing, as, much as English printers tended to replace German umlauts with uncontracted vowels "ae", "oe", and "ue", Continental printers replaced the thorn with y. So "thee" and "thou" turned into "ye" and "you" on the page, obscuring the last remnants of the informal "you" grammar inherited from Anglo-Saxon. (It wouldn't surprise me to learn that it sped up the elimination of the informal tense as thee and thou became ye and you, and eventually just you.)

Shakespeare: Original Pronunciation

Rather than get swept up in the recent personality clashes in the PulpRev, I'd rather focus on an idea somewhat tangential to that discussion: how to learn style, or what to do when Hemingway's prose just doesn't carry the rhetorical weight needed in a passage.

But before I can get to those thoughts (And because I haven't mastered how to get multiple videoes on Blogger), I am going to lay a little groundwork prior.

In English, Shakespeare towers above all, in lyrical meter, rhetorical grammar, and characterization. But 400 years of linguistic shift obscures some of the puns and the meters used in his poetry. Thus many scholars have attempted to discover the original pronunciation of the plays from period sources.

Original pronunciation (OP) changes the meter of Shakespeare--or rather restores it from years of pronunciation drift. Any attempt to study Shakespeare for style needs to consider this, as to best understand drama and poetry is to hear it performed instead of reading it on the page.

For instance, the vowel shift on the word sleep, from sla-ep with an unstressed long A to slEEP with an accented long E, affects the stress on the word and the rhythm of the sentence.

For more on OP, including snippets of performances, check out the video below.

Thursday, March 8, 2018


In 1991, Lucasfilm reignited interest in Star Wars with Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn. This first book of the Extended Universe showcased new adventures of Han, Luke, and Leia as they struggled to keep the New Republic together years after the Battle of Endor as the threat of the Imperial remnants faded. But a new threat lurked in the Unknown Regions, marshaling the Empire's strength for a vicious counterattack, as the last of the Empire's Grand Admirals assumed command. A rare alien in command despite the Empire's human prejudices, Grand Admiral Thrawn was a cunning and cultured grand strategist relying on psychology and cultural scholarship to tailor his war plans to the blind spots of his foes, ruthlessly crushing them without the need of the Force. Here was a new kind of threat to the Star Wars universe, equal in menace to the dark space wizards of the Sith.

Fans eagerly embraced Grand Admiral Thrawn, turning him into perhaps the most popular addition to Star Wars created by the Extended Universe. For fifteen years, Timothy Zahn would return again and again to Grand Admiral Thrawn, exploring his legacy and his past, and providing the linchpin to the explosion of Star Wars books. Thrawn would appear in comics, video games, and even toys.

All this was before the dark times. Before the Disney buyout of Lucasfilm.

Suddenly, Grand Admiral Thrawn, like the rest of the Extended Universe, was packed away and shelved, cleared away so that Disney would have a clean slate for new stories and new directions. Such as the television series Rebels. Keen-eyed watchers began to notice references to the Extended Universe. At first deemed little more than fanservice, these references began to build as the creators incorporated more into Rebels, until, in 2017, Grand Admiral Thrawn returned, first in Rebels, and then in Star Wars: Thrawn, by Timothy Zahn.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

From The Editor: Lessons on Style from Hypnos Magazine

While normally I keep to the tried and true writing advice of the pulp masters, today's advice comes from Hypnos Magazine, a quarterly science fiction, fantasy, and weird fiction magazine that is aimed at the amateur writer. Their editors have seen almost seven full years of submissions and have boiled down their lessons into a single page full of broad advice for the developing writer. Here is a chance to learn from others' mistakes.
OUR PHILOSOPHYThe fundamental challenge for any amateur writer is knowing where to direct his reader’s focus, and every element of style serves this one and only sole directive: to draw the reader’s attention to the significant and away from the unnecessary. Thus bad writing is always bad for the same reason: it’s distracting.   
With that in mind, we have compiled the following list. These "errors" appear in almost every story we reject. Contributors would be well advised to study them. 
FEATURELESS SETTINGS Too many stories take place in a blank, unidentifiable setting. Characters seem to live in a void or a place so nondescript it could be either England or India, Manhattan or rural Minnesota. In certain circumstances, this ambiguity can be advantageous, but most stories benefit from the verisimilitude generated by a detailed, fully realized setting.  
EVERYDAY LANGUAGE Amateur writers often use casual, even juvenile, language in situations calling for grim formality. Middle-aged professionals shouldn’t sound like teenagers, and narrators—even when they are teenagers—should speak clearly, accurately, and intelligently. Certain stories might call for the use of slang, but few writers can use our contemporary spoken language without sounding ignorant.  
UNCONVINCING DIALECT Dialect can bring life to otherwise flat characters to life, but it ensnares more writers than it helps. Dialects and accents are notoriously difficult to capture without sounding cheesy or racist. Particularly vulnerable, historical fiction and fantasy often depict societies without a written record, making it impossible to know how those peoples actually talked. The use of the Queen’s English, being unobtrusive, is preferable to the clumsy use of faux medieval speech.
MUNDANE DIALOGUE Dialogue doesn’t exist to convey boring, everyday exchanges. It exists to capture emotional conversations between characters that would sound lifeless if simply paraphrased by a narrator. Greetings, goodbyes, and chitchat bore readers, and though well meaning, writers who record them in order to accurately reflect modern speech risk annoying their readers.
Check out the rest of Hypnos's writing lessons.

(Thanks to Deuce for pointing me to this page.)

Friday, March 2, 2018

"A Little Disappointed..."

In an attempt to show the wider context of the changes in 1940s literature and how they may have affected Campbell and science fiction, let's take a look at Doc Savage, the Shadow, and Babette Rosmond.
The pulps were dying by inches during the Forties and the reading audience, cynical after another World War, was no longer satisfied with pulp fiction and pulp heroes. They wanted more thought, polish and realism in their fiction. Babette Rosmond perceived this and surrounded herself with writers who could meet these new demands. She could hardly get rid of Lester Dent (though Walter Gibson did quit during her tenure), so she juggled his novels to make them less conspicuous and showcased the work of MacDonald and others.
Murray, Will. Writings in Bronze (pp. 45-46). Altus Press. Kindle Edition. 
(This seems to be less the audience's attitude and more the editors'. In the 1940s, editors had more power over the market than readers. Changes in literature were driven by the fashions of the editors instead of market pressures. In part, this is because the editors were the market for writers. Sales plummeted under Rosmond, but her policies were in line with those of Street & Smith in the 1940s. I'll be looking into those soon. Rather than Rosmond being a child of Campbell's ideas as I previously assumed, it appears that she instead was a child of a new management that squeezed the vitality out of Campbell and the pulps.)
The years 1946 and 1947 were years of change in Doc Savage, and this was due largely to Babette Rosmond and her policies. It’s rumored that Lester Dent didn’t get along with her very well and she, in turn, evinced a cavalier attitude toward his Doc Savage novels. With the May 1945 issue, she shunted the lead novel to the back of the book in much the same manner as a parent locking an idiot child in the cellar. Though she repented that move in April 1945, it became increasingly evident that she thought more of developing her new writing staff than she did of Lester Dent and Doc Savage.
Murray, Will. Writings in Bronze (p. 45). Altus Press. Kindle Edition. 
This was a few short years after many of Street & Smith's pulpsters were effectively driven out of the career. Street & Smith was looking to make slicks out of their pulps and needed new writers in the current styles to do so. The resistance to the old styles even trickled down to the writers:
In Bronze Shadows #3 (February 1966) John MacDonald related the story of how he was asked to join the ranks of the Kenneth Robesons: 
In 1947, Babs Rosmond asked me, very cautiously and tentatively, if I would like to try a Doc Savage. I have the vague memory that Lester Dent was ill at the time. I do remember that I certainly had need of the money. I told her that I would let her know. I got out some of the back copies of the magazine which I had saved because they had contained stories by me. For the first time I read two Doc Savages all the way through. I did some fretting and some pacing and finally phoned Babs at her office at Street & Smith and said that I could not fault them on the basis of action, or moving the people around, but I just could not bring myself to imitate a prose style so wooden, so clumsy, so inadvertently hilarious that it was like a parody of the style you might term Early Comic Book. I said that Doc seemed to me to be a truly great comic figure, and I was sorry to let her down, but… She said she hadn’t really believed that I would do it, and that in fact she would have been a little disappointed in me if I had given it a try, disappointed in me. 
Murray, Will. Writings in Bronze (p. 46). Altus Press. Kindle Edition.
In 1948, Babette Rosmond would turn away from editing pulps for her own literary career. By then, the damage done by her and Street & Smith's management was permanent. Instead of continuing with the plan to revive their flagging pulp line, yet another management shakeup decided on a different course:
When the end did come, it was as if a sword had fallen. In 1949, the last of the Street & Smith heirs, Gerald Smith, became president of the firm. The sword-wielder is unknown; it may have been Smith or Chairman of the Board, Allen L. Grammer. In any case, it was the latter who announced in April of that year that Street & Smith was dropping Detective Story, Western Story, Doc Savage, and The Shadow—leaving Astounding Science Fiction the sole survivor of a long line of pulps. Citing television and the fact that readers were tired of the pulp format, Grammer said the company was shifting toward the women’s market. 
Murray, Will. Writings in Bronze (pp. 49-50). Altus Press. Kindle Edition.