Zing.

The hero of my most recent novel, Adam, is a bare-knuckled boxer.  I did a fair bit of reading about boxing during the Regency period, but I also read about boxing and fighting in general. One of the most delightful books I read for research purposes was The Sweet Science, by A.J. Liebling.  It's a collection of essays that he wrote for the New Yorker in the 1950s about boxing, named by Sports Illustrated the best book about sports of all time.  And for good reason!  It's beautifully written, deeply intelligent and absolutely hilarious.

There is one particular snippet from The Sweet Science (a term coined by a Regency author, Pierce Egan) that I find myself thinking of quite often, for its scathing perfection.  I'll quote it here:

One fight writer, reporting the victory, said Olson was a "burned-out hollow shell," which is like merging Pelion and Ossa, or Ford and General Motors, in the cliché business.  He must have meant the shell of a broiled lobster after a shore dinner. (The Sweet Science, A.J. Liebling, 74)

That's a day-long writing workshop right there, in a single paragraph.