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.
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:
cons does cow of all,
thus nat hue resution
sick o’er the cast thought,
entprise great and ent
this ard cur turnry
Over at Cultural Rumbles, there is a list of books that may help unlock poetry from an exercise in doggerel into proper appreciation.
And JimFear has asked for suggestions of poems that may help a non-poetry fan develop his prose and appreciation.