Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Words out of time

Got a question/comment about the creative process of writing? Post it here!
User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed December 8th, 2010, 6:02 am

I think eye-rolling, like winking or raising an eyebrow, is among the more universal expressions of all cultures. Eyes have always been used to say things silently that those who are not looking at the communicator will not catch. And there aren't very many options, so I'd guess what there are were used then the same as now.

User avatar
EC2
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3661
Joined: August 2008
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Post by EC2 » Wed December 8th, 2010, 10:53 am

[quote=""Alisha Marie Klapheke""]Thank you all so much. I'm trying to keep myself from doing cartwheels here. I just love you people.

I agree with what everyone here is saying and I believe I have done this in my writing. I really think my problem is that I use too many Americanisms and I am ignorant of them.(What do you mean? I don't have an accent. Ha ha.) Are there any modernisms about which you more experienced writers/readers could specifically warn me?
It will depend what market you are writing for. If you are writing for the American market, then Americanisms are unlikely to drag your readers out of the story. If you are intending to sell the work outside the USA to other English speaking nations, then you may need to adjust for their markets. Sometimes words of ancient pedigree that went over to the USA with the Pilgrim Fathers have fallen out of useage in the UK and are viewed now as Americanisms, even if they were once English-isms. :) So it's not 'Fall' it's 'Autumn', it's never, ever, ever 'gotten' :eek:

And one more question: Can my 13th c characters roll their eyes? I know. That's bad, right? I wish they could. I really do. The eye roll says so much.
[/quote]

I don't see why not, although personally I think it's phrase that has to be used very carefully in whatever genre you're writing in. It's like when characters 'chortle' and 'gurgle' It can be intensely annoying and cheesey to the reader unless you know what you're doing! :D
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

User avatar
Libby
Avid Reader
Posts: 315
Joined: January 2009
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Post by Libby » Wed December 8th, 2010, 12:31 pm

Yes, they can 'roll their eyes'. But why use that exact phrase? Try to describe what they do in a new way.

e.g "William's eyes seemed to search the air for a moment before he answered".

Not a brilliant example, but it might work within a context. It's always better to think about what your characters are doing and describe it in your own way rather than grab the nearest well worn phrase.
By Loyalty Bound - the story of the mistress of Richard III.

http://www.elizabethashworth.com

User avatar
Michy
Bibliophile
Posts: 1649
Joined: May 2010
Location: California

Post by Michy » Wed December 8th, 2010, 3:27 pm

[quote=""Libby""]Yes, they can 'roll their eyes'. But why use that exact phrase? Try to describe what they do in a new way.

e.g "William's eyes seemed to search the air for a moment before he answered".

Not a brilliant example, but it might work within a context. It's always better to think about what your characters are doing and describe it in your own way rather than grab the nearest well worn phrase.[/quote]

Speaking as a reader here, not a writer...... in finding a new way to describe what your characters are doing, be careful not to get too "creative." You don't want to make your reader stop and go "WHAT?!" or, um, roll their eyes. ;) Or, worse yet, fling your book against the wall. Sometimes the well-worn phrase might be the best choice. I guess it's a difficult balancing act that the writer must constantly negotiate. :)

User avatar
Alisha Marie Klapheke
Avid Reader
Posts: 376
Joined: November 2010
Location: Franklin, TN
Contact:

Post by Alisha Marie Klapheke » Wed December 8th, 2010, 6:11 pm

Thanks again, MLE, EC2, Libby, and Michy! I will do my best to rewrite, keeping your helpful hints in mind. After I complete the rewrite, I'll contact some American agents and see what happens. The two UK agents that have seen my work told me that would be a good idea considering my writing style.

May I bother you with one more question?

What about the ideas of mind/brain in the medieval period (13th c to be exact)? Would a person of that period refer to something being on their mind? Any thoughts on this?

User avatar
Shield-of-Dardania
Reader
Posts: 129
Joined: February 2010

Post by Shield-of-Dardania » Sat July 30th, 2011, 7:10 pm

[quote=""Alisha Marie Klapheke""]
Thank you all so much. I'm trying to keep myself from doing cartwheels here. I just love you people.

I agree with what everyone here is saying and I believe I have done this in my writing. I really think my problem is that I use too many Americanisms and I am ignorant of them.(What do you mean? I don't have an accent. Ha ha.) Are there any modernisms about which you more experienced writers/readers could specifically warn me?

And one more question: Can my 13th c characters roll their eyes? I know. That's bad, right? I wish they could. I really do. The eye roll says so much.[/quote]
Someone said cartwheels are good for circulation. So, why not?

I thought there was a southern drawl.

I still have a tendency to use things like 'hello', 'guys' and 'wow' in my draft 11th century HF. I'm working on it, though. No, I don't think I'm more experienced than you.

I just had a king from 1600 BC roll his eyes in one scene, a flashback. And he's from somewhere in India. Now that you've mentioned it, I'd have to look at that again.

My impression is that the eye roll, unlike the more classical, universal wink, is a relatively recent American-Western European mannerism. To be absolutely frank, it's not yet instinctively done among Asians and Africans, except maybe sections of their young influenced by what they see on television. But I just thought that we all could pretend that it was a universal thing that had occurred everywhere all along.
Last edited by Shield-of-Dardania on Sat July 30th, 2011, 7:54 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Post Reply

Return to “The Craft of Writing”