1. platerawriter

    platerawriter Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2013
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    New York, United States

    Voice for 19th Century New Englanders

    Discussion in 'Research' started by platerawriter, Jan 29, 2017.

    Hey everyone,
    This might sound a little strange to be asking for, but I'm wondering if any of you are familiar with current/ more contemporary authors dealing with early-19th century New England settings. This is very specific, I know, so I'll give a little background why I'm asking. I'm currently in my senior year at university and I'm taking my creative writing capstone course this semester. For one of my mid-level writing classes, I started to write a short story set in early 19th century New England and did a good bit of research for it, but I'm not quite sure if I got the dialogue quite right. I'm now looking to expand that story into a larger piece (It started out as a short story, then turned into a Chapter 1). I've read some stories and novels from authors of that time period, but I'd be interested in seeing how a more contemporary author treats the language of the narration and the dialogue (I'm writing this in 3rd person).
    I'm also open to any advice about taking on a project like this too! (Such as how to keep yourself motivated on a deadline-I need to get up to 60 pages by February 28th!) I do generally like writing in different time periods because I'm a history buff and feel like it combines multiple interests, but I'd just like to do the time period justice and be as authentic as possible.
    Thanks in advance,
    Bryan
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    8,254
    Likes Received:
    14,991
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Where in New England? I'm from RI and live in NH now...
     
  3. platerawriter

    platerawriter Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2013
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    New York, United States
    I was envisioning Massachusetts. The part of the story I wrote already takes place on the estate of a wealthy family.
     
  4. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    17,502
    Likes Received:
    19,495
    Location:
    Scotland
    I would rely on primary sources for this, if possible. In other words, things that were written during the time. They don't need to be novels or stories ...in fact those were scarce until the days of Washington Irving and Co. He's a pretty good source, though. But anything you can get your hands on that was written then. Of course writing was likely a lot more formal than speaking, but at least you'll get a flavour of what words were in usage, and how sentences tended to be put together, etc.

    I would get hold of The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volume A, Seventh Edition: Beginnings to 1820. Nina Baym, General Editor. Published WW Norton & Company, Inc, 2007 edition.
    ISBN 10: 0-393-92739-3
    ISBN 13: 978-0-393-92739-9

    Among other things, this volume contains lots of letters and at least one play, so there is direct dialogue.

    There is also Volume B, if you want to go later into the century. (1820-1865) This is a much larger volume, because there was more writing going on by then.
     
  5. platerawriter

    platerawriter Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2013
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    New York, United States
    Thank you for your advice and providing these. I was looking for the story to be set somewhere between 1812-1820, so I think that anthology would be very helpful!
     
  6. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    3,923
    Likes Received:
    4,237
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    What fun! There should be a lot of contemporary (contemporary to the early 1800s, I mean) on Project Gutenberg and Google Books.
     
  7. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    1,289
    Likes Received:
    1,235
    Be careful with words. I often get annoyed at books that are supposed to be placed in the early 1800s but use words that hadn't been invented yet. For example, because I worked in telecom, I know that the word "hello," came into popularity because if the invention of the telephone.
     
    Catrin Lewis likes this.
  8. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    3,923
    Likes Received:
    4,237
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I believe the Oxford English Dictionary is helpful in this situation. Doesn't every definition include the date and context of the first known use of the word?
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice