windwolf99 (windwolf99) wrote in little_details,

Balance of Terms

This is a problem I run up against repeatedly, especially when writing fantasy. Given that I'm only at chapter two of my story I dread think how many more times I'm going to run into it. It mostly involves what terms to use, which ones would be in use, which ones would work best. I think an example would help me explain it better...

This is the most recent example that's been giving me a detail and realism headache. My main character walks into her house and finds her mom and teacher sitting in the living room. Sounds nice and simple only would the living room be called a living room? My technology level varies between Roman and Middle Ages (which it can do since it's my world) but how long have people been calling them living rooms? What were they called before? Would what they were called before fit into my story or just sound pompous and out of place? How many times can I avoid the problem entirely by saying "She found them in one of the rooms her mother often entertained in"?

It's the stupidest little things and I try and go back and reread to see what other fantasy writers have done but I never seem to catch it because I get way too wrapped up in the story.

So basically what I'm asking is this: How do you guys find a balance between terms your readers would understand and relate to and ones that might be more historically accurate? Basically, if I want my world to be as authentic as it is in my head can I get away with calling it a living room???


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