Historical Fiction and Etymology

Today’s blog post is hosted by the wonderful blog Pure Jonel about one of the downfalls of writing historical fiction/historical fantasy… period word use. Read more at:  http://purejonel.blogspot.ca/2015/12/JD.html


Source: voxy.com

I’ve always been interested in etymology. Learning where (and when) words originated has appealed to both the writer and the history buff in me. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have more than one instance while writing my newest novel, Raining Embers, where I wished I was writing something contemporary rather than set in a fantasy world based loosely on the High Renaissance—it would have saved quite a bit of time trying to find period-appropriate words to use.

While I probably spent more time than was healthy going through etymological dictionaries to check words while working on Raining Embers, a few words/phrases I would have liked to have been able to use still come to mind:

1. “Cavalier.” Circa 1580, cavalier wasn’t too far outside the time period, but as it didn’t come to mean something more pejorative—as I meant to use it—until the seventeenth century, it seemed like a little too much of a cheat to work properly in the narrative. Read More…


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