Back to the Regency

Currently, I’m working on a Regency-set historical featuring the Most Stunning Man Alive and a woman who is–not. In fact, she is renowned for her bad clothing sense, so much so the MSMA has problems speaking properly when he is near her.

It’s so much fun! And it allows me to indulge in all those color combinations I’m pretty sure I rocked back in the ’70s–teal and fig, for example, or many bright patterns.


My hero isn’t quite Beau Brummell, but he is not as outrageous as the heroine.

One of the best parts about writing something like this is the etymology–I found I was able to use the word ‘oxymoronic,’ while I couldn’t say someone was in the limelight (1826, so close!).

I love language, a love no doubt fostered by my dad, who had Francis Grose’s 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue around the house when I was growing up, long before I knew what the Regency was or that I would one day be a writer.

So I’m off to get some more words in on the current book, but am wondering–do you have a favorite word or words? Do you have words you misuse? (mine are brackish and miasma).




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9 Responses to Back to the Regency

  1. Elena Greene says:

    Glad you’re having fun with the story, Megan. Offhand, I can’t think of words I misuse but in my edits I find I overuse certain body language. My characters smile too much and when they’re not smiling, they take ragged breaths. Need to clean that all up and get more variety in body language.

  2. HJ says:

    The first word that came to mind was “lambent” – not because I misuse it, but because one particular author I read used it too frequently, and in odd ways. I think I first came across it when I was listening to an audiobook in the car, so I couldn’t look it up – I hadn’t read or heard it before – and it wasn’t easy to work out its meaning from the context. As I usually do, having discovered the author I read her entire backlist one after another and now she is forever associated with the word since she tended to use it several times in every book. I’ve rarely read it elsewhere.

    My reading vocabulary was always much larger than my spoken one because I read so much as a child, so audiobooks have saved me from a few howlers in pronunciation! However, I have to remember that some words are pronounced differently by English and Americans. I still haven’t recovered from hearing the word “buoy” read by an American! I was convinced the narrator had made a terrible mistake…

  3. Susan/DC says:

    One of my favorite words is gobsmacked — I love the idea of the hero being gobsmacked by the heroine just when he least expects it.

    As for words I misuse, I can never remember exactly what bemused means. I know it doesn’t mean the same as amused, but I can’t remember the definition no matter how many times I look it up.

  4. Lesley A. says:

    I love gobsmacked too but my current favorite word is “lambaste”. My old boss used it once and I have been enamored of it ever since. She said she got “lambasted” during a meeting or something and I immediately wrote the word down to go look it up…apparently you don’t want that to happen to you. I don’t know that I would ever use it in a story…it means to berate or reprimand harshly; censure; excoriate. In regency speak that’s a tongue lashing, yes?

    As for overuse, I confess I use “smiled” quite frequently… I’m currently writing a story where my hero is a real good guy, not rakish at all, but his most endearing quality to me is his smile (picture Henry Tilney in Northanger Abbey movie from BBC) so he smiles A LOT — not goofy, just indulgent and heart-warmingly. Maybe I’ll take a page from Elena’s book and start editing out a few of those lovely smiles! I’ll find my hero’s rougher edges around here somewhere….

    How DO the English say “buoy?” 🙂

  5. diane says:

    Omigosh, Megan. My WIP features a gorgeous hero and a heroine with a disfiguring scar. Won’t it be fun if both books come out the same time!!

    A word I always want to use, but can’t is “mesmerized” which, meaning “enthralled” dates to 1862. One of my favorite words is “roundaboutation.”

  6. Karen H in NC says:

    Megan, your new book sounds like a whole lot of fun. So you have a heroine who is…NOT drop-dead gorgeous (that’s my over-used word/phrase pet peeve) and a heart-stopping hero…sounds like a perfect match to me!

    Another word I’ve seen overused to the point of I want to throw the book against the wall is ‘stroll, strolled, strolls’…as in he strolled across the room or wherever it is the author wants someone to walk to…she uses the aforementioned words. There must be a better word for it and if not, use walk!

    OK, that’s my soapbox. I’ll step down now.

  7. Great post, Megan! I can definitely feel your pain as I am fine tune editing a manuscript to send in for a request and I have discovered I use some words entirely too often! Way too much “striding” and an overabundance of “solemnity.” I am cracking open my HUGE synonym finder and actually creating a word rolodex with the words I tend to sprinkle like salt on French fries!

    I know there are many words I question myself on before I use them and I even go so far as to look them up in order to make sure I use them correctly. I discovered I was using “erstwhile” incorrectly so I hope I don’t do that again!

    And I like gobsmacked as well! The visual image that comes to mind with it is simply too delicious!

  8. librarypat says:

    Persnickety is one I like. There are several phrases and words that are used too often, but it is late and I can’t think of them at the moment. Men may stroll, but women do too much gliding.

  9. Ruth says:

    I can’t think of any words I’m particularly enamored with at the moment. My mot de jour seems to change quite a lot. I work for a chemical company and write a fair number of reports (not technical, mainly business related). I do manage to slip quite a few interesting words in there simply for variety (how many ways can you say “increase” or “adjust”, I wander?), but they are rather sweet and humor me.

    The British pronounce buoy as “boy”. It flummuxed me (oh, that’s the nice word!) when I first moved to the US (what was this booee word?), but now it makes more sense to me, although I do have visions of little children floating in the sea whenever I hear it in either “language”..

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