Sunday, 26 January 2014


It is now greatly troubling me that "scarf" may have been an anachronistic word in my last short story.


Jeremy Edwards said...

First of all, congratulations on posting the first XKCD cartoon of the many I've seen that I actually liked! (Just yesterday, Hilary showed me several candidates that she thought might prove exceptions to my XKCD unenthusiasm, but alas none of them were.)

Second... if it makes you feel better, though I worked very hard at avoiding anachronistic language in The Pleasure Dial—getting up to my elbows in Google Book Search mud—I became aware after the fact of at least two goofs I'd made. But I doubt anyone has noticed them.

Janine Ashbless said...

Oh Jeremy, I mourn for your XKCD antipathy!

Historical language for writers is just a minefield - one where the dangers are invisible. We've got a wider vocabulary now than ever, and of course we want to use it. But we have to respect our characters' context (not to mention their very non-modern mentality) ... without - on the other hand -putting our readers off.
Okay, it's like juggling with invisible mines. And I think I've stretched that metaphor as far as it can possibly go!

Jeremy Edwards said...

Yes, I know just what you mean about the invisibility of the dangers. Sometimes one feels as if, ideally, one ought to double check every word for authenticity! (:v>

I wrote a detailed blog post about this issue, once upon a time: