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Thursday, April 11, 2013


While working on "Seer, Tyro, Fiend" this morning, I caught a sneaky anachronism, one of those Gotchas. Most people think of the word as referring to a person, place, or thing showing up in a time period where it should not be. For example, a character in American colonial days leaning against a telephone pole, or making reference in a historical romance to California before the state even came to be. There's another type of anachronism that can happen in fiction, where things happen out of sequence. An example might be a character going upstairs when she is already upstairs.

Here's the one I found today: Stefanie has an art show at a gallery and some paintings are sold. Someone also commissions her to repaint a work that sold before they could buy it. Another painting sold is a very personal work that she did not want to include in the showing but did at the urging of the gallery owner. The next morning, she goes to her studio and meets up with her friend, Amy. She begins to tell Amy about the show and mentions the sale of the painting she did not want to include, along with a troubling encounter with someone from her past. Before they can pursue the subject, Amy must attend to customers in her store, and Stefanie goes upstairs to her studio. Later, Amy comes up and they continue their talk while Stefanie mixes paint colors. Amy admires one of them and asks if it is for the commissioned work.

Ha! Stefanie had not yet said anything to Amy about the commissioned painting! An anachronism. This was easy to fix by having Stefanie mention it in her first discussion with Amy before being interrupted by customers. Because of my haphazard approach to writing, there may be more.

Actually, there's an anachronism in "The Dreamer Gambit" that has been there since it was published. Oddly, only one person has ever made note of it, and that was a good friend of ours. Other reviewers have never seemed to notice it (or were too polite to say they did). Because "Dreamer" had been rewritten and revised so many times, I'm not a bit surprised.

Don't think for a minute I'm going to give it away! I'd be curious to hear from anyone who has noticed it or finds it.

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