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Stewart
March 15th, 2003, 08:10 AM
Having just started work on a fantasy story I am finding myself challenged to keep it in the classical/archaic descriptive mode that is seen in the earlier and more traditional fantasies. Any advice on how to do this?

An8el
March 15th, 2003, 07:15 PM
Read aloud the authors you want to imitate so it sinks into your internal lexicon? Make a tape of yourself reading these styles and listen to it while falling asleep?
Make friends with some achedemic who talks like that and imitate them while talking?
It's a little like making specialized "lingo" of any discipline become second nature, I'd say. Why would you want to do this, if presumably you're writing for someone who is reading it now?

Stewart
March 15th, 2003, 09:07 PM
Because the older writers managed to make their worlds seem far more grand than many of the writers of today. And the words they used seemed far more fitting for a story about knights slaying dragons than the words commonly used today.

Holbrook
March 16th, 2003, 02:10 AM
I think the key is to improve your own knowledge of the English language.

A tip given me was to have a copy of a good Thesaurus at hand when writing. If the word you wish to use doesn't feel right, look it up and use an alternative.

But a note: don't make the language "too Flowery" or use words you are not sure of "all the meanings" it can lead to comments both from people doing critiques(these you can ignore) to publishers (these you might consider taking note of) like:

Too ornate.

Too clever.

Do you know what you are talking about?

The last one really bugs me when I get it on a critique forum I use. I sometimes wonder if folks actually know the language they are writing in.

pcarney
March 18th, 2003, 08:10 PM
Do you think you need to write this way, or is it that you want to? It seems like alot of writers nowadays use more contemporary language.

Lucky Joe
March 18th, 2003, 09:43 PM
Originally posted by pcarney

Do you think you need to write this way, or is it that you want to? It seems like alot of writers nowadays use more contemporary language.

I think this is an excellent point, there's nothing wrong with writing in a "classical/archaic" style if that is what you want to do, however I (and I'm no expert) think it's important to move forward with writting, if all we strive for is to produce imitatations of older works we run the risk of moving backwards rather than foward.

I do however understand the need to avoid using certain modern words when writting about "Knights and Dragons" but I think as long as you avoid being ultramodern, you can still achieve this, for instance Knights would rarely use words like Duede or Cool, (except in Xena and Hercules of course) so as long as you excerise some caution you should be able to figure it out.

kater
March 19th, 2003, 12:08 AM
Originally posted by Holbrook
I think the key is to improve your own knowledge of the English language.

A tip given me was to have a copy of a good Thesaurus at hand when writing. If the word you wish to use doesn't feel right, look it up and use an alternative.

But a note: don't make the language "too Flowery" or use words you are not sure of "all the meanings" it can lead to comments both from people doing critiques(these you can ignore) to publishers (these you might consider taking note of) like:

Too ornate.

Too clever.

Do you know what you are talking about?

The last one really bugs me when I get it on a critique forum I use. I sometimes wonder if folks actually know the language they are writing in.


Hooyah Hol couldn't agree more - also avoid joining sentences together with easy cheat words such as, and, so, but etc - this makes it longwinded and boring, not 'old school' fantasy imo. Most important point would be - is your story one that can be written in such a style or is it better suited to another style. I believe style is individualistic, sure by all means adapt it slightly to get what you want but don't fundamentally change what works for you.

Holbrook
March 19th, 2003, 03:04 AM
Originally posted by kater
also avoid joining sentences together with easy cheat words such as, and, so, but etc - this makes it longwinded and boring, not 'old school' fantasy imo. Most important point would be - is your story one that can be written in such a style or is it better suited to another style. I believe style is individualistic, sure by all means adapt it slightly to get what you want but don't fundamentally change what works for you.


Agree with the joining of sentences, but I am guilty of it *g* Though I do try to keep each sentence down in length. If it is anywhere near two lines long it is way too long..... for me at least.

Also paragraphs, personally I try to keep them short or as short as possible. As I believe that short paragraphs keeps the story moving. Longer ones are, to me at least, signs of an info dump.

Also when you are first starting out writing you tend to write long paragraphs and "change tack" half way through. It takes a while to learn to "pace" your writing.

It has taken me about three years to develop "a style" that suits me and my ideas. Sadly, all the work of mine on this site is of that age or older. None of my more recent stuff is up, due to the fact that it is in the hands of an agent or not suitable for a 13 year old audience.

Richardb
March 21st, 2003, 05:07 PM
Originally posted by Holbrook
I think the key is to improve your own knowledge of the English language.

A tip given me was to have a copy of a good Thesaurus at hand when writing. If the word you wish to use doesn't feel right, look it up and use an alternative.

But a note: don't make the language "too Flowery" or use words you are not sure of "all the meanings" it can lead to comments both from people doing critiques(these you can ignore) to publishers (these you might consider taking note of) like:

Too ornate.

Too clever.

Do you know what you are talking about?

The last one really bugs me when I get it on a critique forum I use. I sometimes wonder if folks actually know the language they are writing in.
One of the things I find in reading from less experienced writers, (or bad ones) is the desire to prove ones wit and education by using rare and interesting words from the thesaurus instead of simple and common usages. The only author I have seen this work naturally for is Stephen R Donaldson, who's complexity seems to compell him to use complex usages. For the most part, it seems like the writer is trying to do something other than tell a story. Frankly, if I have to use a dictionary (and I am well educated) I get a bit bothered...
Don't fall into the trap of believing a 'big' word will impart meaning... the best visualizations come from well crafted and simple sentances. If the word inturrupts the story ('hmm, what does that mean) the vision is lost for a moment, and the suspension of disbelief is ended...
Have a little fun poking around the forum looking for users that tend to 'overwrite' using uncommon words and overwritten styles. It is kind of fun. Keep it clear and simple! (No, not dumbed down, just clear and simple). Mark Twain was famous for this...

Se'dray-on
March 22nd, 2003, 03:01 PM
Richardb makes a good point. You can still have classical/archaic style writing without becoming *too ornate*, *too flowery* or *too clever*. One writer that I'm currently reading that follows the classical/archaic and formal tone in his novels is Dennis L. McKiernan. His writing has a very formal but flowing style all his own.

I find that it is best not to imitate anyones style, no matter how successful they are or have been. You are your own person and will develop your own unique style, if you let yourself. It will not be inferior, merely different. Allow your personality to shine through in your works.