Monday, January 30, 2012

Letter Tip #3: Using Commonly Used Words or Phrases- Period Drama Advice Column

Everybody has those little words or phrases that we always use (or overuse sometimes). It's no different with characters in period dramas. Properly working those words and phrases can really make a letter sound like it's coming from the character you're writing as. Below are some examples:

"To be sure..." or " be sure" - Various characters in Emma
"My one weakness" or "It's my one weakness" - Dorcas Lane in Lark Rise to Candleford)
"My sister, Mrs. Suckling in Maple Grove" - Mrs. Elton in Emma (she has plenty of common phrases)
"Fiddle-dee-dee!" - Scarlett O'hara in Gone with the Wind
"It's *proper name here*, madam!" - Deborah Jenkyns in Cranford
"...Lady Catherine de Bourgh..." (variations) - Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice

Interjections are a great source of commonly used words or phrases. Like I've shown above, Scarlett O'hara from Gone with the Wind says "Fiddle-dee-dee!" quite a bit. While reviewing a period drama or book, try to pin-point the different interjections that you spot: they can be quite useful.

How helpful was this tip? I am requesting some help for this tip: are there any interjections or common sayings that you can think of that would be a good example for writing responding letters?

Other than that, if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. I'll try my best to help out.

 God Bless,
 God Bless, Miss Elizabeth Bennet


  1. Isabella Thorpe says, "my dearest creature!" all the time. :)
    This was quite helpful and I'm really looking forward to the event.

  2. I was going to mention Isabella - I wrote as her for a past advice column competition and after have a quick flick through Northanger Abbey, I found plenty of phrases that she uses often :) e.g 'Not that I care for such things...' '...for all the world!' I found most were quite easy to adapt to fit with the situation.
    A bit of advice just in general: picking characters that use lots of idioms and have a very recognisable manner of speech makes it much easier, as then it's less difficult to imitate their voice :) Jane Austen's comic characters, like Mrs Elton, are ideal.



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