Classic? Doesn't make it good.
I’m convinced that fiction writers of today are more creative and more highly skilled than those of years past. A case in point: Ian Fleming’s Thunderball—a classic written by a man who has become a household name.
"The girl looked him up and down. He had dark, rather cruel good looks and very clear, blue-grey eyes. He was wearing a very dark-blue lightweight single-breasted suit over a cream silk shirt and a black knitted silk tie. Despite the heat, he looked cool and clean. ‘And who might you be?’ she asked sharply. ‘My name’s Bond, James Bond …’”
As iconic as this paragraph may be in the world of cinema and literature, it’s riddled with all kinds of amateur mistakes many fiction authors today would be crucified, not immortalized, for committing.
A few off the top of my head:
-Telling, not illustrating, Bond’s appearance with an information dump. “His eyes were this color, his suit was this color, his shirt was this color, his tie was this color…”
-The use of dialogue tags like “she asked sharply,” which are typical of authors lacking confidence in the power of their dialogue or distrusting their audience’s ability to grasp the character’s tone.
-The excessive use of the modifier ‘very’. As my old editor-in-chief used to tell me, ‘very’ is not a unit of measurement. It’s vague and nondescript. Replace the word ‘very’ with ‘damn’ to see what I mean.