Musings: Translating Passive Language of the Past

One of the challenges in writing Masque of Honor was how to make the story imminently “readable.”  Have you ever read a book that was written in the 1810 -1820 time period? OMG! It can be a more than just a little laborious!  Although I love her, Jane Austen is NOT an easy read. In Masque of Honor, I want to give you the 1816 experience, and at the same time, I want you immersed in the story, not treading through too many verbs and lost in all that passive language.

Sometimes, my research felt like an archeological dig as I “unearthed” newspaper articles of the time as well as real-life letters written by my characters. And these writings required more than just a bit of this “translating”. I’d often ask my husband for help. I’d read a sentence (more like a passage) and then ask him what he thought was said. It is interesting that once your eyes and brain become accustomed to reading this type of language, you begin to see that even though the word use was genteel, the sentiments were often insulting, and sometimes MORE brutally insulting than you first realized!

Although set two hundred years ago, the story behind MASQUE is very much a modern story of family, love, tragedy and the meaning of honor.  Though I am still fine-tuning the novel, I am hopeful that once you read it, you will fall in love with the story as deeply as I did during those long hours reading and rereading those faded letters and clippings.