Writing: The other day I caught a few seconds of an interview on NPR about anachronisms in the recent PBS import of the BBC‘s Downton Abbey. (You can watch a clip of the examples here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzY4ieghO0w or read dictionary editor Ben Zimmer’s article on the subject by clicking here: http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wordroutes/3133/.)
A light went off in my head. Aha! I thought, That’s why I don’t write historical romance.
I lie. Actually, it was more like Aha! That would be a good blog topic. I already knew why I don’t write historical romance. It’s because if I tried to write a book set in a different time period, someone who knows a whole lot more than I do would read my novel and point out every glaring inaccuracy. They’d probably be really nasty about it too.
The Downton Abbey article and interview weren’t nasty. In fact, quite the opposite, they provide an enlightening look at the etymology of some common phrases of the English language. It turns out that many of the show’s inaccuracies stem from differences in when these phrases were introduced in America and England. Kind of reminds me of George Bernard Shaw’s famous quip about England and America being two countries separated by a common language.
Do these observations take away from the program? I don’t think so. But plenty of authors will tell you that reviewers are not always so kind. So, until I’m ready to devote a great deal of time to researching a time period, I think I’ll stick to contemporary romance.