Dickens, Charles. Charles Dickens was not paid by the word: that is a popular misapprehension. He was paid by the syllable.
Hawthorne, Julian. Julian Hawthorne inherited all his father Nathaniel’s prodigious literary talent, but straitened circumstances forced him to pawn it.
Hemingway, Ernest. Psychiatrists have determined that Hemingway’s trademark literary style was the result of a severe case of attention deficit disorder.
Joyce, James. When he was sober, James Joyce was completely unable to interpret his own Finnegans Wake.
Shakespeare, William. William Shakespeare sold the dramatic adaptation rights for The Phoenix and the Turtle to John Fletcher, but Richard Burbage described Fletcher’s play as “unproducible.”
Sterne, Laurence. Laurence Sterne was so furious at his printer’s emendations to the first volume of Tristram Shandy that he finally took a brush and entirely covered the most objectionable page in the proof with black ink. The printer, mistaking this effusion of bad temper for one of Sterne’s typographical peculiarities, printed the whole page black—much to Sterne’s private amusement.
Zola, Emile. Astonishingly, it is reported that Emile Zola believed his surreal soap opera Nana was “realistic.”