Victorian late 1800's writing style?

I am currently writing a book that takes place in mid to late 1800’s with gothic undertones. However, my writing style is so modern and I use so many phrases and words that make it seem of this time period rather than the 1800’s.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to fix this? Maybe some suggestions on books that have this (preferably wattpad books, classics bore me… I am so sorry.) or maybe a generator that helps? I don’t want it to be too forced and Shakespearean, but it definitely is not feeling very authentic and I hate it.


Maybe read some of that style books to try and get a tone for it or watch some films within that era?

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The Adopted Debutante by @BloodR0se17 - it’s ongoing but goddang it’s in the 1800s vernacular vein you’re looking for.

I will look for more.


Have you ever tried Assassin’s Creed Syndicate? It will take you right into this era, and while you play you can develop an ear for how they speak and read the bunch of documents the game has as their notes. It’s not books, they are short and authentic and give you an idea of what you want to stylize.

On Wattpad, I think this could help:

Pick up a KJV, try to read the Psalms.


ESV: is the host modern English version ?, now. NIV is a bit outdated to current language.


Because thine characters art learned in the good book, even unto the heathen. If thou canst forbear the common faith of thine chosen era, that is.

Heya, you are answering to me, not the OP who had asked the question.

A weird quirk of literature of this era is the over description of exotic locales, like Antarctica. People at the time were far less well-traveled and informed, so you really had to hammer in how cold Antarctica is.

The Infernal Devices is really fun to read and very beautiful. Maybe that will help.
It’s by Cassandra Clare.

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If you really want authentic, I would encourage you to look for some actual Victorian books - a lot of the popular culture we can’t have enough of these days is actually based on Victorian literature, such as Dracula, or Sherlock Holmes. Detective stories and “penny dreadfuls” (short cheap horror stories) were very popular during Victorian times, so maybe if you look some of those up, they won’t be as boring as your regular classics. Plus, copyright would have expired on most of them by now, so you might be able to find them online to read (even on Wattpad).


Also… Try reading historical fiction. A is for Arson is a watty winning Victorian style book, and it’s a historical mystery,so it should be interesting for you. I dropped it because it wasn’t my style, but it might work for you.

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Didn’t mean to. Lmao. I keep blaming that on “old lady”.

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Yeah, my first response of pick up the Psalms in KJV was towards you…not that I managed to directly response to you.

Usually the the songs are the easiest way to get a feel for natural use of older speech (which is what psalm means, really). Easy flow comes from music/lyrical expression.

Of course, this is the era that started balking the thee and thou every few seconds. Lol

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Honestly, the best way to rectify this is to immerse yourself into the written word from the era. Not just pieces of fiction, but newspaper articles and non-fiction work from the era. That way you can get a better understanding of what feels authentic. But I wouldn’t be too worried, there’s often a conflation of tone throughout historical fiction so it’s rarely very authentic. Also there’s a massive change of tone over the century so you need to pinpoint which literary style you’re going for. But the best way is to definitely read work from the time you’re trying replicate. I’d try to pinpoint it to a decade if you want to be precise.

A lot of work is free online also.


A knight’s tale (the movie) exemplifies that…

Modern music, introduction to the caste system and Chaucer, a fun little movie that’s only so period accurate.

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Something people often skip, but I’ve found insanely simple and useful, is reading newspaper articles released in the area and during the period in which you’re writing. That doesn’t just give you information on what their writing, word choice, and general linguistic styles look like, it also gives you information on what the people’s general mindset was like, what things were trending or popular, what kinds of issues were arising, etc. etc. and can give you a wealth of context in order to build a more realistic and accurate depiction of the era.

Local libraries generally keep archives, otherwise you can easily read them online through sites like the Library of Congress website.


Oooh, right up my alley!

I wrote two books (actually three, but it’s not up yet,) that take place in 1826 and 1855 :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: One is “The Facade of Quad in Nimrod” (more Victorian-esque) and the other is “Alive At Crepusculum” (darker and taking place in a fictional USA-esque country). Both are on Wattpad.

I was inspired by the old literary styles. I have links to lists of phrases of the period (although it depends on where your story takes place and how authentic you want to be), so if you still need them, send me a message :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: