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Medieval "witches' graveyard" uncovered in Tuscany

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri September 30th, 2011, 3:08 am

'heavenly bodies' isn't Aldonza's style either -- she's crude, illiterate, a street fighter and a survivor. I'm trying to eliminate my too-scholarly tone when I'm writing in Aldonza's POV. It's a major shift, because one of the other POV characters is a super-educated noblewoman, and I know what SHE sounds like, because I've read her letters and whole volumes of her brother's writing.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Fri September 30th, 2011, 4:28 am

I have my half-Gypsy character 'thanking her lucky stars' for an escape, by way of introducing her belief in animism and astrology. But at the HNS meeting the consensus was that the phrase sounds modern. Any suggestions as to how to convey the same idea with less contemporary language?
To thank one's "lucky stars" is surely a much older expression than we now take it for (like lots of expressions that seem modern because they feel so slangy, but actually go way back). "Fortunate" sounds older than "lucky," though, so you could work with that. You might even personify it as Fortuna, the goddess of fortune, who I suspect was still being invoked long into Christian times, though perhaps under the more ambiguous term "Fortune." Perhaps she could thank "Fortune and the stars"?
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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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) » Fri September 30th, 2011, 4:46 am

That might work, Margaret. Especially if I can think of some gutter-slangy old-timey sounding term for Fortune. A Gypsy might thank Devli (God) but most people unconsciously rearrange the letters into 'Devil'.

I know that thanking one's lucky stars is an expression that goes back to classical times. But perception is everything. I also got dinged for using the expression "I'm over him" even though I took it straight out of a novel of the period (in Spanish). Well, it does sound modern, and if the reader gets bounced out of the story, if won't help to go into a scholarly explanation about how period-appropriate the language is.

Especially ironic that I need to find quaint-sounding words in English, a language none of my characters are speaking.

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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Fri September 30th, 2011, 9:01 am

I've heard about the nail through the tongue, and burying someone upside down, being connected with witchcraft.

Weren't suspected vampires supposedly buried with a brick in their mouth?
Currently reading: "Fear on the Phantom Special" by Edward Marston.

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wendy
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Post by wendy » Fri September 30th, 2011, 12:59 pm

[quote=""MLE""]Counting blessings would be totally out of character. She's the chip-on-the-shoulder type, a prostitute by profession. Aldonza is the name, and if you recognize the reference, you have an idea of her personality.[/quote]

Gotcha - although I think Aldonza actually means "sweet" - good use of irony!
In the context of your story could you use a Shakespearian-type reference,
'she was thankful her luck had been placed in the charge of a favorable star'
(King Lear)?
Wendy K. Perriman
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SarahWoodbury
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Post by SarahWoodbury » Fri September 30th, 2011, 3:46 pm

I blogged about this article and witch trials in Wales--of which there were very few! Kind of interesting . . . http://www.sarahwoodbury.com/?p=3379

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wendy
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Post by wendy » Sat October 1st, 2011, 8:56 am

[quote=""SarahWoodbury""]I blogged about this article and witch trials in Wales--of which there were very few! Kind of interesting . . . http://www.sarahwoodbury.com/?p=3379[/quote]

Enjoyed the blog. Thanks Sarah. It's interesting that torture was officially illegal because from the extensive research I've done into the subject over the years, I'm pretty sure they did some hideous things to the prisoners to gain a confession. I guess it all depends on what your definition of 'torture' is!
Wendy K. Perriman
Fire on Dark Water (Penguin, 2011)
http://www.wendyperriman.com
http://www.FireOnDarkWater.com

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SarahWoodbury
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Post by SarahWoodbury » Sat October 1st, 2011, 5:34 pm

Laws against torture are difficult to enforce, I think, because if they wring a confession . . . who's going to believe the prisoner about how they got it?

Glad you liked the blog!

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