Thursday, 17 January 2013

Those Moments of Indecision...

This week is passing quickly, and I'm only just getting back into routine.

I've completed 75% of my weekly writing total, and I'm now at a scene in my Nottinghamshire novella that takes some thought in how I proceed with it.

Writing modern romance there would be no problem about the hero being in the heroine's bedroom, but even in innocent extenuating circumstances it was an issue back in the early 19th century.

Likewise, I'm trying to walk a line between the acceptability of conduct in the country, compared to that of society in the town; and the difference there is between the conduct of a lady of noble birth and a young woman of good (but just comfortable) family - without a personal maid, or someone who can be called upon to go with her when she ventures out of the home.

If you live in a small village now, then you probably know quite a few people by name, and others perhaps only by sight.

A couple of centuries ago everyone would probably know who was who, so any seen transgression would soon be known about - and probably the subject of gossip.

In public it's relatively easy to have your characters conform to social conventions - in introductions the social 'inferior' is introduced to the person of higher status, not the other way round...

I have a facsimile reprint of the 1737 book, 'The Rudiments of Genteel Behaviour' by Francis Nivelon, and it has some plates of basic figures with a brief description - I can safely say from this instruction I could perform a reasonable curtsy. :-)

There's even an instruction for placing your hands when dancing a Minuet.

Which reminds me of an article I saw in one of the online newspapers last night that you may like to hear about.

"Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice will be turning - gracefully - 200 years old this month. To celebrate the BBC are screening a 90-minute recreation inspired by the book’s great event, the Netherfield Ball. Pride and Prejudice: Having A Ball at Easter aims provide a detailed look into the parties of the period." (Telegraph)

When I was in primary school, our winter PE lessons consisted of country dancing, and I now realise that many of those dances we did then would have been the same or similar to those danced all that time ago...

As to my writing problem, I'm just going to write it and let protocol come round in the editing process...


Patsy said...

We did country dancing at school too. I quite liked it.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Great post, Carol - I read about the P&P re-creation dance. I loved country dancing at school and we still use many of them in our Scottish dancing and ceilidhs.

Teresa Ashby said...

I loved country dancing at school :-)

I think you are doing exactly the right thing in doing the writing now and sorting out the protocol later! x

Carolb said...

Patsy, I have to admit it was quite good fun thinking about it now.

Though at the time I remember turning left when I should have gone right, but the other children weren't left handers like me. :)

Thanks, Rosemary. I went to a ceildhs a very long time ago, but it was really enjoyable. :-)

Thanks, Teresa. Now I'm not worrying about it, my thoughts are untangling.
So that scene will be the target for the coming week. :-)