Ancient or modern? Language in historical fiction

Excellent post for historical fiction writers

Carolyn Hughes Author

Last Thursday, I joined a panel of published writers at a Portsmouth Writers Hub event held at the University of Portsmouth, before an audience of fellow writers and readers. The agenda was to discuss the dark themes in our writing, as well as our research and writing processes. One of the questions asked of me was how I dealt with language, given that my novel, Fortune’s Wheel, is set in the fourteenth century, a time when people didn’t speak English as we know it, but spoke either Middle English, a form of French, or Latin, depending on their social status and education.

It’s a question that has exercised me – and many other writers of historical fiction – a good deal. The question I have asked myself has been, basically, whether I should attempt to give my characters “authentic” sounding voices, or put modern language in their mouths. I knew…

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2 thoughts on “Ancient or modern? Language in historical fiction

  1. Very many thanks for reposting my blog. It’s a subject that continues to exercise me as I write my historical novels, in my efforts to get it “right”, whatever “right” actually is! By the way, I’m posting two further blogs on this topic, continuing the discussion, over the next couple of weeks.

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