Would it be too jarring

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  • Would it be too jarring

    ... to use a couple of obviously new slang terms in a period/19th century script?

    I have it in two places and for some reason it works and sounds appropriate and/or like something that would have been used. When I take it out it loses its' 'pop'.

    If you were reading, would it take you out of the read?

    Normally I wouldn't dare. I'm just not sure I'm doing my script any justice by trying to talk myself out of it.

    I don't want to be kooky about it.

  • #2
    Re: Would it be too jarring

    I think we need more specifics about the script to know. For instance, what genre is it? I think this could work in comedy, but if it is supposed to be an accurate historical depiction, it's going to be jarring. It may be jarring in comedy even.

    I tend to favor writing in the language of the time unless there's a really good reason not to.

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    • #3
      Re: Would it be too jarring

      Thanks. I'm leaning toward that. It's a drama and I am going for the most accurate depiction possible. The lines aren't significant, just one off responses where two 21st century terms (now in the zeitgeist) seem to just fit, like they could have originated back in the 19th century, which is the setting.

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      • #4
        Re: Would it be too jarring

        Anachronisms can work, but they're super tricky. I'd have to see the examples before truly passing judgement, but lean towards avoiding for sure if you're trying to be true to a time and place.

        Also: dialogue or action lines?

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        • #5
          Re: Would it be too jarring

          "Give it a name".
          ("Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead")

          If the word or phrase is used repetitively, then the reader/viewer connects the context of what's happening as its used and understands it.

          Consciously make sure the word/phrase is connected to an action, object, light motif, or theme, and we will know what you mean.

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          • #6
            Re: Would it be too jarring

            Yes, it would be too jarring.

            I am assuming, of course, that you are correct in your belief that the words/phrases would be identifiable as not belonging to the nineteenth century.

            "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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            • #7
              Re: Would it be too jarring

              Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
              Yes, it would be too jarring.

              I am assuming, of course, that you are correct in your belief that the words/phrases would be identifiable as not belonging to the nineteenth century.
              You would be correct. I decided against it, even though the phrases sounded folksy enough.

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              • #8
                Re: Would it be too jarring

                Would it be too jarring? By crickey, ye olde muthafuker, I fervently believe that it most certainly would!
                Know this: I'm a lazy amateur, so trust not a word what I write.
                "The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty, never." ~ Oscar Wilde

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                • #9
                  Re: Would it be too jarring

                  Since you haven't said what the words are there's no way to know, but I have often been surprised to find that what I would consider a modern word may have been in at least sparing use quite a while ago. You can always check for historical usage with Google's N-Gram viewer.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Would it be too jarring

                    I guess it depends on your audience too. For example, it may still be a drama but aimed at teens who might be more forgiving of using such words.

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                    • #11
                      http://www.oldenglishtranslator.co.uk/)

                      You might want to read novels from the period to get a sense of not only words of the era but also syntax and rhythmn of how characters speak.

                      Sometimes I'm surprised in reading Jane Austen how contemporary her dialogue seems, so as mentioned above, sometimes words have been in currency for a long time.

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