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Re: Writing for Reading

March 17, 2015 02:37PM

Re your comments:

> . . . I don't think it's necessary to copy everything
> about Jane Austen's style even when writing
> Regency fanfic - in fact, part of the fun of
> fanfic is seeing other people's choices, both in
> the variations and how they relate them. I would
> (and do) find it a bit jarring when the upper
> class characters regularly use contractions in
> their speech - my impression is they didn't do
> that during the period and you certainly don't see
> it in P&P - but choices about how much to put in a
> paragraph seems perfectly fair to me. And while I
> am a huge fan, the punctuation in my copies of P&P
> often follows no apparent logic and I am guessing
> she was responsible (although perhaps it was the
> typesetter).

Nobody's saying that one should try to absolutely replicate Miss Austen's style. Only that a style appropriate to the period, evoking, or giving the flavor of the time, and of her style, should be attempted in Regency-era stories. Paragraph-length and punctuation are not essential elements of this style. Word choice, speech rhythm, and sentence structure are. But these are not elements that one needs to suppress his or her individual authorial voice to use correctly.

Again, using my previous examples, Georgette Heyer and Patrick O'Brian write in styles that, quite deliberately use the sentence structure and speech rhythms of the Regency era. At the same time, their individual styles and authorial voices come through. While they write in a manner similar to Jane Austen, and both are obviously influenced by Jane Austen, both have a style and voice uniquely their own.

But neither one is writing in the tight, muscular, stripped-down style used by, say, Ernest Hemingway or Dashiell Hammett. They are writing in a style that evokes the era they are writing about.

I haven't read any of Miss Heyer's contemporary mystery novels (which, given that I'm a mystery guy, kinda surprises me, now that I think about it), but I'd be willing to bet that the style of her contemporary fiction is noticeably different from her Regency stories.

Again, to use an example outside the Regency era, Loren Estleman is an award-winning novelist in two different genres. He writes westerns, and he writes both contemporary and mid-20th Century period crime fiction.

He has a successful series going in each genre. His western series character is Deputy US Marshal Page Murdock, who works out of the frontier federal district court of a judge who rather deliberately resembles Isaac Parker. The crime series character is Amos Walker, a tough private eye in the Chandler tradition who walks the mean streets of Detroit as Phil Marlowe once walked the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Both are first person narrators. Both are similarly tough, hardened, determined figures. But both act and talk in a manner appropriate to the time and place they operate in, and, similar as the two characters are, and for all that they are created by the same talented writer, no one reading a Page Murdock novel could mistake the narrative voice of Murdock for that of Walker, or vice versa.

Yet, at the same time, the styles used in each series are similar enough that Estleman is recognizable in both.

All that's being said is that, if one is writing about a particular era, a style appropriate to that era should be adopted, to the degree possible.


Writing for Reading

Rae ElaineMarch 14, 2015 06:32PM

Re: Writing for Reading

RedsonMarch 18, 2015 03:55PM

Re: Writing for Reading

Suzanne OMarch 20, 2015 04:46AM

Re: Writing for Reading

Jim D.March 20, 2015 07:30AM

Re: Writing for Reading

Suzanne OMarch 23, 2015 12:09AM

Re: Writing for Reading

RedsonMarch 23, 2015 03:08AM

Re: Writing for Reading

Harvey S.March 17, 2015 03:39AM

Re: Writing for Reading

Jim D.March 17, 2015 02:37PM

Re: Writing for Reading

Suzanne OMarch 17, 2015 02:29PM

Re: Writing for Reading

Jean M.March 17, 2015 03:35PM

Re: Writing for Reading

AlidaMarch 17, 2015 08:24AM

Re: Writing for Reading

GingerMarch 17, 2015 03:37AM

Re: Writing for Reading

AlidaMarch 15, 2015 07:41PM

Re: Writing for Reading

laurie lMarch 17, 2015 12:24PM

Re: Writing for Reading

Jim D.March 16, 2015 06:17AM

Evokes the era or our concept of the era?

KathyMarch 21, 2015 03:19PM

Re: Writing for Reading

Jim G.MMarch 15, 2015 09:44PM


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