Linguistically Kinky

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABuckle up, ladies and gentlemen. Today, we revisit issues of dialogue!

(Admittedly that exclamation point is a bit of a stretch even for the most linguisitically kinky of souls, but effort of excitement must be made by one of us. This morning, the burden is mine. You’re welcome.)

If you recall, I’ve had a bit of a struggle with the melding of technically accurate late Colonial/Revolutionary War-era manners of speech with what today’s reading audience wants out of their historic romance. (Speaking of burdens, my perfectionist/OCD-tendencies are huge, honking weights when it comes to these “technical” decisions. Just saying.)

Anyhow, most of that drama has passed as I’ve found a nice, comfy median in which to tuck myself. (Alas, there was no “Eureka!” moment I can share with you. It just sort of happened one day.)

However, the question of contractions remains. The colonials didn’t use them. Beyond the “twixt” and “tis” and like, they weren’t lazy enough to use “can’t” and “don’t.” Fine and dandy for them, not so peachy for modern day audiences.

While I’m aware many authors do stick stringently to this No Contractions clause, I do not. If a contraction makes a piece of dialogue stronger, crisper, more effectual in driving up emotion, I use it. At those moments, I don’t want the reader tripping over words. I want all their attention on the action, the romance, the angst of the story.

Is this selfish of me?

Is this right or wrong?

Am I once again making mountains out of mole hills?

Who knows? I’ll keep you updated if enlightenment suddenly strikes.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe

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