Anachronisms...

Discuss Lynsay's historicals

Anachronisms...

Postby Denise on April 1st, 2010, 3:44 pm

I've always been sort of a devil's advocate when it comes to historicals and their use of language of the time. There are the sticklers that insist you can't use certain words because they weren't in print before such-and-such day. I'm of the opinion that just because something wasn't in print doesn't mean it wasn't in use. Sure, you can get a general time frame, but I've seen people lambaste an author for using words in a medieval book that didn't have written evidence until 20 years or so later. Come ON! How many people were actually writing back then, and did they have a new edition of a dictionary every year? Give me a break. There had to have been words being used that weren't being written down. Give the author some slack, please. Sure, there's a line to be drawn somewhere, but I'm not going to gripe if an author doesn't adhere to someone else's standard. And who wants to read a historical that is written entirely in the vernacular of the day? I speak modern American English, thank you. And I prefer to read in my own language.

Rant over.
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Re: Anachronisms...

Postby grlnxtdr29 on April 1st, 2010, 4:05 pm

I Agree. I've read some historicas that were writen entirely "Era appropriate Language," and I couldn't understand a third of it. I mean, have you ever really read any of the stories writen back then? I preffer to see words and phrases I actually understand. Shakespeare is great, but sometimes I have to read his words three or four times before I can figure out what the Heck he was saying!
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Re: Anachronisms...

Postby Lynsay on April 2nd, 2010, 1:43 pm

Well, I'm afraid a lot of those sticklers don't care for my writing at all, and that's okay. But I don't write to educate people, I write to entertain them. So, I am less of a stickler about things.

The funny thing is I often get lambasted for things that actually did happen. Like in The Deed I had the heroine busily blackening everything in the castle for mourning because she'd been widowed and at a conference someone gave me heck for it. In the meantime, I got the idea from reading legal documents of the time, specifically a will of a widow who had left all her "blackened" clothes and linens, etc. to her neice. LOL. When I tried to explain this to the upset reader, they looked at me all suspicious and said, "What research book did you get this from?" Well, of course this was FOUR years after I wrote it and I couldn't recall off the top of my head and she immediately got this, "Uh huh" look on her face as if to say I was flat out lying about it. I felt kind of bad at the time, like if I just had a didactic memory I could have told her, but afterward I found it amusing and still do.

There are a lot of things in my stories that have come from research and aren't just "ridiculous" things I make up. Life really is stranger than fiction at times. Like in Bliss when she put the flea ridden fur in the bed, in another research book I had learned that they used to put a little strip of fur under the bed to kind of lure fleas away from the matress itself, I believe this was a book about the young King Henry. I just had the heroine grab one of those and stick it in the bed itself to torture the hero. LOL. And then in the book . . . hmm, I think it's The Brat, but am not sure, but it was a historical where the heroine was very superstitious and believed all sorts of silly things like that throwing herself on the ground and rolling about would avoid something bad happening because she had seen a bird or something. And then there was this superstition that if she ate something specific before bed she would dream of her future husband. Anyway, the superstitions in that book were all real superstitions from Europe during the time period, though I had a lot of critical letters saying I had just gone overboard with ridiculaous things that couldn't possibly be true.

Oh well
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Re: Anachronisms...

Postby sherr on April 2nd, 2010, 6:15 pm

Lynsay and to anyone else who wants to listen to me ramble....As I stated in my previous post I majored in History with emphasis on Medeval and renassisance British History. Lynsay writes for the sole benefit to entertain the readers of today as Shakespeare wrote for the readers in his time period...however no one actually talked how he wrote and therefore I tink we can understand why Lynsay's characters talk the way they do. During this time period superstitiouss and religious beliefs were open to many interpretations and people often distorted them to suit their need for that day. I personally enjoy Lynsays Historical romance and some of the things I see occuring can (I do believe) happen. England during this time period was filled with ignorant (in the most polite understanding),superstitious people who most lived in meager existance. The one thing that makes me chuckle is the amount of times these characters take baths....rountine baths didn't occur regularly until introduced by Queen Catherine of Aragon and then only by the elite. Daily bathing is an America trait...thank god adopted in Canada. I'm finish rambling...Sorry guys. :(
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Re: Anachronisms...

Postby Lynsay on April 2nd, 2010, 10:59 pm

The one thing that makes me chuckle is the amount of times these characters take baths....rountine baths didn't occur regularly until introduced by Queen Catherine of Aragon and then only by the elite. Daily bathing is an America trait...thank god adopted in Canada. I'm finish rambling...Sorry guys

I knowww!!! And they wore their clothes until they practically fell off! I mean, seriously, there was a reason that someone came up with the idea for perfume and it wasn't because everyone smelled so sweet! And don't even ask about toilet habits or periods, we're talking seriously UNROMANTIC here. So . . . I leave that stuff out and have them bathe regularly (well except when it's important to the plot like in The Key) and everyone's happier than if I had them running around stinky, dirty and licking mud, sweat or baby throw up off the gal's boobs or what have you (Hmmm, wonder if the program will change boobs to something else. . . and if so what? Mamary glands?)

Lynsay, who prefers the fantasy medieval days to the reality.
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Re: Anachronisms...

Postby Denise on April 3rd, 2010, 1:26 am

Thank you so much, Lynsay, for sparing our sensibilities and making your characters bathe.
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Re: Anachronisms...

Postby sherr on April 3rd, 2010, 5:10 am

I vote for washing not everything has to be so true to life....ugh....
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Re: Anachronisms...

Postby wren on April 6th, 2010, 12:45 pm

Lynsay, The Brat is one of my faves, and it is because of all the silly superstitions that the heroine believes. The entire story is hilarious, and I laughed all the way through it, although I found it genuinely believable. Think how many very superstitious people we have in today's world and it's easy to realize how many there were in past time periods.

I often learn things in historical books that are helpful in trivia games and family & friends will be surprised when I can answer a question that has come from reading historical fiction. I've seen that about the blackening of everything in many historical books and had come to realize that it was the custom to do so when in mourning, and there were many rules to be followed about those kinds of things. In a lot of books, an author will include a note, just like you often do before the excerpts on the website, of the inspiration for the story and something about the real way things were done during the time period...or if a word isn't in use now, they'll explain where it came from and how it eventually fell out of use.

I'm with Denise & Sherr...I read fiction to be entertained and can overlook the things 'glossed over' for us by authors and just enjoy reading the story. As for those who are going to be strict sticklers over little things, maybe they should take up a different hobby or only read non-fiction. I also prefer that my heroes & heroines bathe, even though I know the truth about it and the need for perfumes in the not so distant past, if you think about it...and weren't many people of past eras also very superstitious about bathing? :D
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Re: Anachronisms...

Postby Lynsay on April 6th, 2010, 2:41 pm

Glad you liked The Brat, Wren. It's one of my favorites. I found the book of superstitions at the library and photocopied several pages. I swear I carried those photocopied pages around for years before coming up with a story to use them in. Some of them were just so funny I knew I would have to put them in a story eventually. (Grin)

It's not the only story that the seed was carried for a long time before coming to fruition. The idea for Love is Blind started when I was about 19. I had read in a history book about a young daughter of the nobility who was tricked into marriage by a captain in the army just as my character had been when she was younger. The results were actually what I wrote with the father having the marriage disolved and the captain charged and so on.

And Always has some true facts in it. Henry II did have trouble with his wife and sons and did have a mistress named Rosamunde and the two supposedly shared a great love that lasted ten years or more until her death. There are a lot of stories about their relationship, that she bore a child, or didn't, that Eleanor had her poisoned or not, that she retreated to a nunnery when she fell ill, thinking it a judgement by God, that she returned to Henry's side when she recovered, but then fell ill again and returned to the nunnery where she died.

There are loads more, but I have to get back to work and finish this story, so I shall shut up and get back to work.

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Re: Anachronisms...

Postby Mabel48 on April 6th, 2010, 3:05 pm

I knowww!!! And they wore their clothes until they practically fell off! I mean, seriously, there was a reason that someone came up with the idea for perfume and it wasn't because everyone smelled so sweet! And don't even ask about toilet habits or periods, we're talking seriously UNROMANTIC here. So . . . I leave that stuff out and have them bathe regularly (well except when it's important to the plot like in The Key) and everyone's happier than if I had them running around stinky, dirty and licking mud, sweat or baby throw up off the gal's boobs or what have you (Hmmm, wonder if the program will change boobs to something else. . . and if so what? Mamary glands?)

Lynsay, who prefers the fantasy medieval days to the reality.


I know its unromantic but I've allways had a lot of questions in my head about the more 'personal' parts of living in that age. A womans monthlys it particular. When you think of all the clothes they did or in some cases didn't wear in centuries past. :shock: With all of our personal products we've made things pretty neat and clean. I wonder how many of us would make it living back in those times.
I've read that some countries think Americans are obsessed about shaving and bathing. That's OK by me!!
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