Pucks & Potatoes

by Mel Hughes

David, I loved the “Like an egg from a tall chicken” simile. Great big grin from that one.

Potato Head

On the other hand, you can’t say “potato head” in a Bible-times book. Potatoes are indigenous to the Americas, and they didn’t get to the eastern hemisphere until the 1500s. It would throw me out of a story completely if I read that, and you’d lose all credibility.

And as for horse pucky, I like it, but you still can’t use it in a BC setting. The word “puck” didn’t come into being until at least 1000 AD, and it wasn’t used to describe a hard round object until the invention of hockey. The original meaning of “puck” was an evil spirit.

I know you are using modern and informal language to make the readers think of the characters as real people, not guys who spoke King James English or something. But you still have to take the time period into consideration.

I had to ghost-write a book once set in 7th-8th century AD Syria and Spain, and it was tough. Ultimately my characters did use contractions, because in their own language they would have been speaking informally, but I couldn’t use expressions like “corny” because corn also didn’t come to the eastern hemisphere until the Americas. (My client was a movie producer and he instantly called me on it.)

Thanks for listening, and I’m not as nitpicky as I sound. (Who’m I kidding. I’m even more nitpicky than I sound.)

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[ Early drafts had Obadiah and Elijah saying “potato head” and  “horse pucky” respectively. BTW, I borrowed “tall chicken” from James Coburn in the movie Charade. See Why no pineapple for Obadiah? Dave ]

1 thought on “Pucks & Potatoes”

  1. I didn’t know potatoes were a western veggie… Fun trivia! And that picture is hilarious…. I completely understand cutting words for the sake of historical accuracy. It makes sense. Thanks for sharing!


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