Current Release

Current Release
Sold to the Viking Warrior

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Life in half term

The children are on half term holiday this week. And this means all sorts of things are happening.
Yesterday was my daughter's 14th birthday and it is hard to believe that it has been fourteenth years since that momentous event.
The July RT came out .The Roman's Virgin Mistress has been awarded 3 stars. Nothing I can do about that, but I shall be interested to read the review. Last time Gladiator's Honor was reviewed, the reviewer mistakenly thought the Roman Republic had a royal family and she hated the modern language that was used.
Ummm, I will pass on that particular reviewer's grasp of history but it did rankle as I never use the word *royal*.
As for the other bit -- I don't write in Latin, therefore I think I am free to translate my words into English and to have my sentences make sense in English. The ordering of words is different in Latin. It used to drive me insane! Equally and obviously, we are not entirely sure how the Romans actually spoke in vernacular. I follow Lindsey Davies and others writers of Roman mysteries on using a more modern phrasing in any case. In Davies' latest novel, Saturnalia, she gives an explanation of where she gets her slang from and how she makes some of it up! Her characters are so wonderfully colourful that I hope she keeps writing just as she wants.

As long as the novel feels authentic, then I have no problem with modern sounding language. After all, the reader has to be able to read it and much of slang in bygone eras is long forgotten now. So does the writer use the exact word (if known) or a close approximation? The past needs to be accessible. 100% accuracy is not an achievable goal.

I suspect when people read my Vikings, some might say that I again use too modern of language. But I would ask them to find me the actual incidents of Vikings from the late 7th century speaking. Again the writer has to make them understood. The Vikings and Romans considered themselves to be modern. They could not really conceive of a time beyond of their own immediate horizon.

Anyway, I am going to get back to my current Victorian. This is easier in some ways as we do know the words people used, and one can give a better impression. But given my background, I know that the words will still have a flavour of me in them.

2 comments:

Donna Alward said...

Happy Birthday to Katharine!

And as far as modern language, did you hear some of the dialogue in ROME? You didn't slip into english vernacular compared to that, not at all. :-)

It's tough being a groundbreaker, isn't it. :-)

Anonymous said...

I follow the line that characters in a historical novel would sound normal to themselves, so why put a barrier between them and the reader by trying to make them sound ancient?
For all the reasons you state it is impossible to know how they spoke in 1066, and even after the written records appear (often in translation, too) we all know that dialogue is very differnt to written language.
I enjoyed doing the refresher on McKee - I still have pages of notes I made when I read it.
Jen
Jen Black