In an 1895 article in North American Review, Twain said that James Fenimore Cooper violated 18 of the 19 rules for romantic fiction in The Deer-slayer.
On one page alone, Cooper is said to have scored a record-breaking 114 offenses out of a possible 115.
Some of the rules Cooper broke included:
— “That a tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere.”
— “[T]hat the episodes of a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help to develop it.” —”[T]hat the personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.”