Another new issue for my YA alternate history project. Do I go for authenticity or reader accessibility and is there any middle ground.
I put the first part of the first draft of THE BARD’S GIFT up for critique on one of the writers’ forums I frequent. The first response I’ve gotten back indicates that certain words are causing a problem. Interestingly enough, not the ones I would have predicted. There are a couple of jaw-breaker words that I expect to have to reconsider.
The story is set against the failure of the viking colony in Greenland. In places, I’m using the actual terminology that these people would use–hopefully with enough context and/or explanation to let the reader know what is meant. A cargo ship is a knarr, for example. Other terms, because of their similarity to English words, seem to be more of a problem.
So, now the question I have to consider is whether I stay with the actual historical term for accuracy or change to something more recognizable to a modern audience. And whether an alternate history ought to try to be as accurate as possible.
These aren’t problems I’ve faced with straight-forward fantasy. When I get to build my own world for a story, the only issues are consistency and not doing anything that throws the reader out of the story. Then again, maybe terms that are confusing because they look too much like English words with different meanings will throw the readers out of the story.
Well, it’s still a first draft. I’ve got time to figure some of this stuff out.