Nov 14

‘Tis it or ‘Tisn’t It?

I’ve worked on a number of historical fictions lately and I thought it would be good to share a few tips with those of you who write in various periods.

  • Do your research. Your editor may not always be aware of the appropriate word for the time period you are writing for.
  • Contracted words, like ’tis, ’twere, ’twill etc. have an apostrophe that curls toward the abbreviated letters (it will look like a 9 rather than a 6 for the above words.
  • ‘Tis stands for it is, not there is. ‘Twere stands for it were, not they were.
  • The place for colloquialisms is inside dialogue, not in general narrative. Keep these to a minimum so the reader doesn’t become tired of the archaic speech.
  • Although some words are correct for the time period, your reader will trip over them and this can bring a reader out of the story. Read your work aloud. If you trip over it, they will too.

As I have mentioned before, historical fiction is one of the most difficult fiction you can craft as it requires a large amount of research, no matter the time period you have for your story setting.