Week two of #NaNoWriMo has come and gone and Striking Balance now sits at 103K in length.
Welcome to my 121st #Rainbowsnippets*. This one, as always, is uniquely mine, but there are lots of other great snippets to read so after you finish here click the FB link at the bottom of the post to discover other great LGBTQIA authors and their works.
Striking Balance: The Peculiar Making of Beatrice Benjamin Sophia Scott Schnell Gow is a queer Historical Paranormal Fantasy set in, you guessed it, Appalachia. This Appalachia, however, is the frontier, and the story takes place during the Revolutionary War era and the time after, meaning the late 18th century. This explains the narrator’s voice. If you’ve read the letters and journals of the period, you’ll recognize it as reflective of those.
I have been sharing the preface over the last few weeks and this week I’m picking up where I left off in Chapter One. The part in orange comes from last week’s post Feeling Grand.
‘Tisn’t oft I am taller than Conall so this feels grand.
“We’ll be late for dinner if we don’t hurry.” Conall lifts his hat to smooth his hair, which has been drawn into a blue ribbon tied into a voluminous bow. He looks foppish, but I dare not tell him.
“Must we go to Widow Alcott’s again?” Her farm is a short distance along the road, but I loathe going there. ‘Tisn’t the food, mind you. Widow Alcott, or rather, Mary, is a wonderful cook, but Mary does not cook out of kindness.
Ben, it seems, likes the simple things in life, and this doesn’t include the voluminous blue bow holding back Connal’s hair.
Tiny History Lesson: Contractions were somewhat different during the late 18th century, even in written form, and those greatly varied by family, writer, geographic area, etc., meaning there was little standardization. Ben adheres to the most common of the time period including ’tisn’t (it is not), ’tis (it is), ’twill (it will), ’twas (it was), (Grammarly is curretly having a meltdown) and a handful of others in his writing, but readers will find those and more familiar contractions in the story’s dialogue. Interestingly enough, and I’m being a total #wordnerd here, the contraction I’m doesn’t come into regular usage until the early 20th century so you won’t find it inside the novel. This doesn’t mean that people didn’t say I’m, just that the contraction wasn’t “preferred” language in written form.
Remember that Bea/Ben is a product of this earlier time.
Note: Why do a lot of historical novels written by modern authors not use contractions in any form? I believe the authors are trying to reflect the formal writing of whatever time period they’ve set their story in. Yes, earlier formal writings did not include contractions, but journals and letters of the time did, and people have used contractions in their speech since… forever. That said, contractions inside fiction didn’t come into wide usage until the latter 19th to early 20th century, so… Let’s just say that I choose not to do as authors have. Let the characters’ speech be realistic and the narrative reflect the setting so that it’s accessible to the modern reader but still representative of the time period.
Again, research. (Also, #wordnerd)
This week’s tiny history lesson was brought to you by the contraction I’m because I am is sometimes just too much to write. (runs away quickly)
*RainbowSnippets is a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ authors, readers, and bloggers to share 6 sentences each week from a work of fiction—published or in-progress—or a book recommendation. Feel free to join in.