Monday, August 2, 2010

Vocabulary Clues in Context, CRAFT

QUESTION: I'm writing a Victorian steampunk novel, and I'm trying to be accurate about the period by using correct terminology for everything, but I'm afraid terms like "gaiter" will stymie readers. What can I do?

A good writer gives some clue in the writing's context in a situation like this.
You would say something like Miranda lifted her skirt slightly and glanced down at her feet. Blood spattered her gaiters.

The reader then would think, "Oh, shoes," which is close enough to what gaiters are for the reader to understand.

If the heroine removes the gaiters from over her shoes to hide the evidence that she'd been near the body, then the reader would get a closer hint that the gaiter partially covers her shoe.

Either way, you would not be talking down to the audience, and you'd give them information that they need as well as a hint they may or may not need.


SCHEDULE NOTE: Last week, the Librarian of Congress announced copyright exceptions to a number of media, including ebooks. Tomorrow, I'll explain the ebook exception and what it may mean to writers.


ASK ME A QUESTION! Contact me via this blog or my website if you have craft or publishing questions.

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