My War With the Term “Fix-Up”

(Originally Posted Friday, September 28, 2007)

Let me, as Henry James used to say, be brief:

I have decided that the critical term “fix-up” needs to be obliterated. What was once a modest descriptive for a very specific type of novel has long since metastasized, swelling to many times its original meaning and in the process doing a great deal of harm to many works of fiction that did not deserve to be so mistreated.

No more.

If you’re curious about my reasoning, what does and does not properly constitute a fix-up, and what conceivable harm an innocuous little compound noun can do, you can read about it in A Nettlesome Term That Has Long Outlived Its Welcome. To sweeten the pot, I’ve thrown in two brand-new and original flash fictions, both in collaboration with writers more famous than myself.

Oh, and forewarned is forearmed: The essay is nine thousand words long.


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