So, I’m having a little problem in Regency land. The problem being that it preceded the Industrial Revolution. There are a whole host of metaphors I routinely use in writing and speech that just don’t fly in 1815.

For example, a sentence like:
“Somewhere deep inside him, a switch flipped.”

Well, they didn’t really have switches, did they? Shoot.

And there are so many other “mechanical” turns of phrase that sneak into my writing. Buttons being pressed, levers being pulled, gears turning (although I kept that – I mean, they did have gears in clocks and such). Even the phrase “train of thought” – can you use that before they had trains?

So what’s another, non-mechanical way to refer to abrupt changes within someone’s psyche? If it ain’t a switch, button, or lever, what is it? Help!

5 comments to “Anachronism Intervention”

  1. Alice Audrey
    · January 12th, 2007 at 9:09 am · Link

    That’s a hard one, Tessa. All the change words I can think of which fit the language of the time are slow. “Sea change”, “Flowering”, stuff like that.


  2. Lindsey
    · January 12th, 2007 at 10:26 am · Link

    It’s funny you should mention this – I was just reading a Mary Balogh novella (I think?) in which the hero had a moment where it was like a candle was lit inside his head – rather than, I guess, a lightbulb going on! So I guess it’s just a matter of finding a regency equivalent. Maybe instead of flipped switch – something unlocked? I’m sure you’ll come up with a clever metaphor!

  3. CM
    · January 12th, 2007 at 3:46 pm · Link

    Gravity. Gravity happens quickly. So do collisions.

    “Like a brick dropping on his head” might work.

  4. Maggie Robinson
    · January 12th, 2007 at 5:08 pm · Link

    Weather analogies? Clouds lifted, ray of light, storm surged? Obviously I need my own toggle switch fiddled with. 🙂 And you know, even if the Industrial Revolution was not in full swing, there was a ton of scientific inquiry.

  5. Tessa Dare
    · January 12th, 2007 at 8:13 pm · Link

    Hmm, thank you. Those are all excellent suggestions.

    Although I’m not sure I want to drop a brick on my hero’s head, CM. He does have enough problems as is.

    Damien – now him, I had no issues braining with a candlestick.