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hi from me, and help pls:)

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marnie
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hi from me, and help pls:)

Post by marnie » Mon November 10th, 2008, 4:46 pm

I am Maria Eleftheriou, currently a student at the University Of Manchester (UK). I am doing a project on anachronisms, and I will be more than appreciate if you could help me by answering some questions.

My project is: Discovering Anachronisms in Historical fiction. The scope of the project is to build a website in order to help writers to use the right words for a specific period.

1) How authors discover anachronisms?
2) What are the costs of anachronisms?
3) Do you know where can I find media reports of previous mistakes on anachronisms?

I would be very thankful if someone could answer these questions.

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Mon November 10th, 2008, 5:12 pm

Hi marnie and welcome. That does not sound like a project I would like to tackle. I'm sure someone can help though :)

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boswellbaxter
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Post by boswellbaxter » Mon November 10th, 2008, 5:18 pm

Welcome, Marnie! It sounds like an interesting project.
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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon November 10th, 2008, 5:33 pm

Welcome Maria! :)

Re using the right words for specific periods:
Is a website for this essential? I would have thought there are etymological dictionaries online where such things can be checked at a glance?
My take as a novelist of historical fiction and a reader of the same is that it's the author's job to craft a tale where the reader isn't being constantly pulled out of involvement with the period and characters. Ellis Peters of Brother Cadfael fame says that good, standard, plain English is the key to achieving this and I would agree with her.
I find mindset very important and veracity of detail. It's no good using the right words if the characters are not behaving in a manner appropriate to their time, or if their setting is obviously anachronistic.
I recently read a novel where one of the characters, a noble youth in early adolescence, headed off to join a crusade on his own without attendants and hooked up with some younger peasant children. They struck up an immediate rapport and within a day became great chums.... None of that could possibly have happened. The same novel has an aristocratic young woman walking unattended into a tavern and no one thinks it unusual. I read to be entertained, but I also read to become immersed in other worlds and in order to be immersed, I have to believe in them!
Very good luck with your project! :)
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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon November 10th, 2008, 5:37 pm

Meant to add that the only way an author can avoid anachronisms is by knowing their period inside and out and that means reading about it in depth and across the board. Even then, no one's ever going to get everything right but it sure helps.

I guess the cost is that readers with knowledge will wall-bang a book if it's chock-full of anachronisms and then pass on their opinions to other would-be readers.
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

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diamondlil
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Post by diamondlil » Mon November 10th, 2008, 7:45 pm

Welcome Marnie.
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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Mon November 10th, 2008, 7:47 pm

You will not find a single HF novel WITHOUT anachronisms. Fans (and I'm not one) will probably hate me, but Patrick O'Brien has his fair share, like rockets being used in the navy a good decade before Congreve developed his.

I really don't understand the 2nd question about the cost of anachronisms.

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Rowan
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Post by Rowan » Mon November 10th, 2008, 8:22 pm

Now that's a unique project subject if I ever heard one!

I think EC's pretty much covered the first two questions and I disagree with Volgadon's assessment that they all have them. But as to your third question, I don't think the media really follows or cares about such errors. I think the closest you will come is a collection of sites dedicated to historical fiction who will write articles about such things.

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Mon November 10th, 2008, 9:19 pm

I've never read one without anachronisms, not even my favourites, but they are barely noticeable.

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon November 10th, 2008, 9:41 pm

[quote=""Volgadon""]I've never read one without anachronisms, not even my favourites, but they are barely noticeable.[/quote]

I have yet to read a novel without anachronisms. As a writer I certainly wouldn't claim to be anachronism free. But some authors have less anachronisms than others. It does boil down not only to research but to understanding that research and to being inter-disciplinary.
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

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