Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I decided to reread THE CRYSTAL CAVE, by Mary Stewart. It's been years since I've read her books about Merlin and now I'm wondering why. Gosh, they're good!

This time, I actually started off by reading the author's notes, and one bit really hit home to me. She's talking about the place names she uses and says,

"...since this is an imaginative exercise which nobody will treat as authentic history, I have allowed myself to be governed by the rules of poetry: what communicates simply and vividly, and sounds best, is best."

She then goes on to say, "The same rule of ear applies to the language used throughout."

That is, when writing historical fiction, she chooses words, etc. based not necessarily by what is strictly accurate, but what sounds best.

To which I say, here, here!

Unfortunately, what sounds best to the author isn't going to sound best to everybody. Some readers will love the sound, others will not, and some, regardless of whether or not the work is fiction, will always prefer strict accuracy over poetry.

Writing is about choices, and that's another one.

Note: I've got something else on my plate this week, so I won't be blogging again until next week.

1 comment:

Kimber Chin said...

Ohhh.... I hope those other things on your plate include some juicy writing!