I’ve just spent a few days playing verbal Dodgeball with the ladies at Romance Novel TV. I was this week’s Mystery Author. It’s a sort of 20 Questions game they play. It's fun and challenging. They ask questions and the author tries to give answers that answer without giving away who she is. It ain’t easy, believe me. These readers are sharp, and there were times where I felt as though I was standing against a big board with darts landing a gnat’s nose hair away from tender flesh.
The Q & A goes on Mon-Wed. On Thursday the Mystery Author’s identity is revealed. So as of today I am all revealed and can tell you about it, and send you over to admire their sleuthing skills and my powers of deception. The rest of the blog is cool, too, so check it out.
However, after playing mind games all week, and tiring out my brain in a major way, I’ve decided to let you do some work. We’re going to play a game. Since you already know who I am, we can skip that one.
A while back we had a guest blogger talking about old and new language, and I’ve had some discussions elsewhere about what sounds modern & what doesn’t & how some very old words strike some readers as “too modern” for a Regency era story.
So I wondered how hard it was to tell when a book had been written. Is it easy to distinguish between say, an excerpt from Jane Austen and one from Georgette Heyer? Can something written in the early part of the 20th century seem as though it was written in the 21st?
Below are are some quotations. You don’t have to guess the author. All you need to do is guess whether it’s old or new. But the more you narrow things down, the more credit you get.
Old would be something written in the 19th century or earlier.
New would be something written in the 20th or 21st century.
Bonus points for guessing the century correctly.
Bonus bonus points for guessing the author, too.
Now put on your thinking caps, because I tried to make these fiendishly difficult. (I honed those skills over at Romance Novel TV.)
1. Personal size and mental sorrow have certainly no necessary proportions. A large bulky figure has as good a right to be in deep affliction, as the most graceful set of limbs in the world. But fair or not fair, there are unbecoming conjunctions…
3. …ragged tenements, fragments of unfinished walls and arches, and piles of scaffolding, and wildernesses of bricks, and giant forms of cranes, and tripods straddling above nothing.
4. The girl’s flushed face was as round as the oranges in the willow basket on her hip as she grinned up at us from the theatre’s pit. Every such chit in the place would come parade below the royal box, flaunting their overripe breasts like more oranges for sale…
6. While not as busy as it would be during the daylight hours, the area was by no means deserted. The waterman still carried buckets to the hackneys lined up at the coach stand. Some soldiers gossiped under a street lamp. A milk-woman carried her empty pails back toward Knightsbridge. The tollgate keeper would continue to work through the night.
7. Why not? A man’s mind–what there is of it–has always the advantage of being masculine.
8. “It seems that he forgot the discretion his legal advisers urged him to observe, and it seems to them than an absence from the country is now essential for a while. I forget the details–mayhem, attorneys flying out of a two-pair-of-stairs window, glass damaged to the extent of several pounds, clerks put in fear of their lives, blasphemous words, a breach of the King’s peace.”
10. Nature had equipped him with a mind so admirably constructed for withstanding the disagreeableness of life that, if an unpleasant thought entered it, it passed out again a moment later.
While you work on it, I'll be staring out of the window with Francesca, looking for trouble.