Thursday, July 03, 2008
Something Doesn't Belong
Here's something that I've noticed in a few different stories I've read and recommended for rejection. It's the use of modern language and dialogue in sword and sorcery. People, I can't tell you how annoying this is. Whatever voluntary suspension of disbelief has been built up is completely shattered when the characters continue to use modern colloquialisms when talking with each other. If you want your fiction to be believable then you have to watch how your characters speak. (If you really want to score bonus points then you'll also watch how they think but that's for another time.) The only way this can happen in these submissions is that the writer just doesn't know any better. I hope they're not sitting at their computer and thinking about how hip they can make their characters because if they are, they shouldn't be writing S&S. Throwing a bunch of archaic language around is not the solution either. There is a seriousness and formality that is commonly used and that sort of speech has become the convention. If you have to have a character which talks differently than all the rest, which is a good idea, then make up some mild slang or quirky turns of phrase. Work it into the story and let other characters reveal how different it is. Whatever you do, don't make your characters sound like their working at, like, The Gap. Y'know?