Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blogging with purpose

Warning: I don't edit blogs. As I think them, you get them.
Proceed at your own risk.

I love books. I love reading them. I love writing them. I love owning them. I love holding them in my hot little hands and anticipating where we will travel together.

To me, books are treasures.

I love words. Large, small, strong, gentle, meaningful, vague, it doesn't matter. The power of words, whether written or spoken, holds endless fascination.

Words are tools, and like all tools, serve their purpose best when used properly. No one uses a hammer to drive in a screw--unless they don't mind the curtains falling because the wallboard or plaster crumbled.

As I've perused various blogs, I realized most had a theme of some sort, something that drew people to them. Mine tends to be comprised of random bits of thought (I don't know that I've had a WHOLE thought in quite some time) rattling around looking for a place to light so the posts are, at best, disjointed and sporadic.

That's going to change.

Romancing History will do exactly as its name implies; it will provide information on books and words with historical significance.

Yes, historical novels will be mentioned here as will research materials dealing with various eras. There is such a wealth of information available these days, and many people are more than happy to bookmark 999 web pages, but some are like me and prefer a book they can mark (I use colored post-its--a different color for each work or, sometimes, character--with a word or two on them to tell me what's relevant on that page rather than mark in the books themselves) and have in hand when the need arises.

Etymology will also play a part, as will whatever I can find about strong verbs and other word choice topics. Why? Because in my WIP, I used a word in dialogue I felt certain fit my time period. However, being an anal sort, out came the etymology dictionary. It seems both my hero and heroine would have been dead for more than two centuries ere this "perfect" word hit the lexicon. (In case you're curious, the word in question is naysayer.)

Another word that I thought too modern wasn't (can't recall right off which word. Sorry.) and in yet another instance the word actually changed its meaning over time. So, while the word was in use, it didn't mean then what it does now. A modern reader would understand, true, and had the word been used in narrative, it might have stayed, but not in dialogue. Readers aren't dumb; someone would have called me on it.

My hope is to make Romancing History a viable tool for other writers so, when the reader closes the curtain on any historical work, the hardware holds, the walls stay solid, and everyone has a satisfying experience.

Assume nothing. Check everything.


Regencyresearcher said...

We have been discussing words on a Regency research list. Some authors admit that they prefer the perfect word to the period word. Others go to great trouble to get the right period word.
Then there is the problem with words changing meaning over the centuries, and the words which have changed connotations over time Facsimile and plastic are two words that might maker readers write critical letters if used in a historical novel in the sense used in the earlier centuries. Same with telegraph and elastic.
Language is fascinating. I do not mind learning about changes that took place in the past, I am less tolerant of current language changes.

Gwynlyn MacKenzie said...

I'm with you. I love learning about words. Understanding them makes for better and stronger usage.

I should join your research list. Have lots of books on the Regency, but it isn't my era at the moment. *sigh*

Thanks for stopping.