After letting quilting and crocheting items to sell at Hickory Ridge Crafts on Etsy.com dominate my time lately, today I enjoyed getting back to editing my manuscript, The Spanish Coin. It’s been fun re-reading the fourth and fifth chapters, eliminating excess words, and searching for repetitive words. Since the book is primarily driven by dialog, I find it helpful to read it aloud. It has been several months since I last read those chapters, so I’m coming to it with fresh eyes.
Making changes in the dialog can be a little tricky when one is writing historical fiction. A character cannot say a word that was not in use at the time of the story or novel. The Spanish Coin takes place in 1771 in North and South Carolina, so I have to be careful not to use modern phrases. It goes beyond that, though, and I have relied upon a book by William Brohaugh titled English Through the Ages to keep me on the straight and narrow. Once in a while I’ve been surprised to learn that a word I thought was perfect for my character to say in conversation was not yet in common usage in the 18th century.
Using appropriate vernacular in writing historical fiction, trying to give just enough description, not using any word too often, and trying to get all the punctuation right…. Whew! I will forever be learning more about the craft of writing.
If writing were easy, it wouldn’ t be so rewarding!