Unintended Side Effects of Reading 18th and 19th Century Literature

03-15096_popupWords come and go. Just like anything else in life, things pass out of favor and fade away. I read a lot of old works. I love the early colonial and American writings. I’m a fan of Edwardian and Victorian brits too. One issue is over the years I’ve soaked up a fair amount of antiquated vernacular that’s no longer present in dictionaries. And reading British authors have done me no favours.

We in large part find our style and language influenced by what we read. I read a wide swath of different genres, time periods and it affects the colloquial aspects of my lexicon. But I’m drawn to the prose and tapestry of the style now departed. Looking back on my first draft of my now completed manuscript the hallmarks of the old-world styles are in full effect. Long passages, inverted sentences, long forgotten words and just plain oldness. It’s all there.

It’s why agents, publishers, and editors push for authors to read current works within your genre. I see the wisdom in that advice and I took it. It helped take my work into the 21st Century instead of an apparent homage to the Washington Allen Hawthorne’s from times long gone.

For those that lament the inclusion of popular phrases into the dictionary. Don’t worry they will disappear as we travel forward in time, fall out of favor and disappear from the big book of word definitions. If not, my micturations shall fall upon the tome.

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