Thursday, March 3, 2011

Passing the Historical Test - Revisited

I wrote a blog about this a few years ago but I'm back in the same place so I'm revisiting the idea.


I'm in the minority on the boat--writing a historical--so I thought perhaps it was time I stop shirking my duties and start representing (er, representin’?) with some historical appropriate bloggage.  So, I'm going to tackle a subject that we chat about a lot around here.  How much accuracy is really necessary for a historical to pass the “historical” test?But to do that, I have to wonder at the importance of having a "historical test" in the first place.

*Gunner Marnee clears her throat and attempts to look sheepish*.   I'm writing a Regency novel and, while I have done some research, I haven’t been killing myself with research or gotten myself all twisted up over it.

*The Captain sashays to her feet, fumbling around for an empty rum bottle to throw at her gunner. As all of the bottles still have some rum left in them, she settles her hands on her hips and scowls fiercely*. Not stressing about research?! What sort of half-ass approach to writing are you pulling around here?

*Her gunner gives a cheeky grin*. I’m a PIRATE. I’m relying on wit and sass.

*The crew grumbles a bit, but can’t find any fault to GM’s logic. They fall silent as the gunner continues.*

Personally, I think it’s more important to focus on the characters, the plot, and the chemistry of the story. I assume that I’ll start pulling it apart for historical inaccuracies later.  I’ll deal with the colors of petticoats, fabric types for nightgowns, and all that other craziness later.

Now, there are some in the historical writing world (and the historical reading world) who find historical inaccuracies--how things looked, whether a word existed back then, whether people brushed their teeth or not--a cause for teeth gnashing and fist waving but, personally, I think many writers go wrong when they focus on THAT stuff instead of the elements of their story.  When writers get caught up in describing gas lighting for pages and pages (when it began, how they installed it, what it looked like, etc) they lose track of what their characters are doing.  That can make a reader (THIS reader anyway) stop reading.

Some writers and readers lament the influx of the "contemporary-feeling" heroine and hero into historicals.   As if the characters spend a healthy amount of time burning their bras, cursing about the glass ceiling, and reading Gloria Steinem or Betty Friedan.

Personally, I think a lot more is made of these issues than I find necessary.

*The Captain does grab the nearest rum bottle now, without regard to the inch of liquid still left in it. Chance hurries forward to pacify her but more likely attempting to save the booze. Bo'sun and DRD watch the proceedings as if such occurrences happen aboard the RWR all the time. (They do, you say?) Gunner scurries behind a

nearby cannon, ducking before she continues.*

In fact, the characters I love from historical novels are characters that have primarily been made up by romance authors. The reformed rake, the bluestocking who finds someone to love her for her mind, and the governess who gets the lord all feel like the stuff of fantasy. From what I know of history, these sorts of things didn’t happen in reality.  At least they didn’t happen often.

I did a report in grad school about medical care (or lack thereof) for women and it made my feminist sensibilities howl in protest. Feisty women who attempted to rebel could easily find their ways into insane asylums. Women were not permitted their own property. Nothing about that is romantic to me.  I don't want to read a novel where a woman would get sent away because she disagreed with the hero about what they should have for breakfast.

That said, you might be wondering why I bother writing in a historical setting at all.

For one, I like the tension inherent in male/female relationships back then. If people were caught in compromising situations, they had to get married. Unmarried sex was more risky without the advances we have today in birth control. In contemporary novels, the stakes don’t feel as high to me and the situations don’t feel as dire.

I also like that I’ll never REALLY know what it was like back then. It lets me make parts of it up, though admittedly not all. In order to give historical romances their historical flare I admit that there needs to be enough accuracy to convince the reader that it could have happened. But, I’m not convinced it has to be completely authentic. Leave out the excrement floating in the streets, please.  And because my characters are destined to have a contemporary feel (as I would argue most historical heroes and heroines do in recent historicals because of authorial bias), I approach my writing more as if I’m writing fantasy and that historical detail needs only to give it authenticity.

In the end, I hope my characters keep my readers reading and that said readers don’t even notice they are missing out on all the historic details.  Or that a word didn't exist until the 1820s and my novel is set in 1813.

What do you think about historical details in novels? Do you think they should be as authentic as possible or are the post-modern historicals ok by you?  What historical inaccuracies are you tolerant of and which ones bother you?  If you write historical, why and why not some other genre? If you don’t write historical, how comes why not?

P.S. I used a similar image when I wrote the first version of this post three or so years ago.  I find it made me nostalgic.


Donna said...

Marn, I love this. In fact, you must be reading my mind because I was thinkiing about this recently. I write Regency historicals because I love many of the things you mentioned. I also like the elegance and wit and how people romanced each other with language.

Granted, there have always been rulebreakers in Society. If there hadn't been, nothing would be different today. It was incremental, but it started with somebody choosing to rebel against a rule that everybody assumed couldn't be broken. :)

I want to be absorbed in the characters and the story. The historical details provide a setting for that, and if it's not 100% perfect, I don't mind. I like authenticity, but I'm more interested in ambiance, the sense that I'm in that world. It's like when I go to Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas -- I don't think it's an accurate depiction of ancient Rome, but it's fun to pretend.

The one thing I don't care for in historicals is modern language--but only because it stops my disbelief, and I have to wade back into the story.

Hellion said...

P.S. I love replays of our blogs. We should do it more often.

Hellion said...

Despite my dislike of dukes, I do tend to read a lot of books with them in it. What makes or break the story for me if the duke is acting like I think a duke of the era should be acting.

If you have a duke who has been a duke from birth and basically NEVER dressed himself, I don't think he's going to be hyperly in touch with reality of the poor people. As in I don't think he's going to talk to his servants much. Or know their names. I also don't think a cradle duke is ever going to be a spy for England--even if there were such things then--and I definitely don't think he's going to be a soldier. NOW if you have a duke who was the second son, sure he can be a soldier, though I think he should give it up. If he spies for England now, he should do so in a way that's not in the line of fire. You know?

Yes, there have always been rulebreakers, but rulebreakers aren't exactly embraced, you know? Take Galileo. You start spouting off the truth and you're under house arrest and declaimed as a pariah. You didn't marry a crazy person on purpose; you wouldn't want it in your family. Crazy defect people were to be hidden--and let's face it, men thought women were just as crazy then as they think us now. They just had more opportunities to ship us off to the funny farm.

My two dealbreakers: 1) heroines acting about sex like it is not a big deal--like there are not dire consequences for being caught in a compromising position; 2) sex that feels too soon--but this is a dealbreaker for me no matter the era.

Bluestocking said...

I write historicals too. Like Marnee, I work on a story first, then use my research to augment the plot, add depth to character, and make the setting come alive. I strive for the illusion of historical authenticity -- but you can be sure that not every word in my MS has been double-checked to ensure it was in circulation during my time-period. That would be too limiting to the creative process -- historical nitpickers be damned.

Marnee said...

Donna - I like authenticity, but I’m more interested in ambiance, the sense that I’m in that world. It’s like when I go to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas — I don’t think it’s an accurate depiction of ancient Rome, but it’s fun to pretend.

I love this. Exactly!! I like the feel of it too. The rich and famous acted so different back then than they do now. Now, I have no patience for the people I hear about/read about in the tabloid rags. The way some of them name their kids? Only in the alternate reality of Hollywood could a kid be named "Moxie Crimefighter" (Penn Jillette's daughter) or "Sparrow James Midnight" (Nicole Richie's son). Anywhere else in the US, that kid would get beat up on the playground.

But the wealthy in Regency England? I can pretend they weren't as pretentious or annoying. And that they had some style and some poise. All while using all the social constraints that make for such amazing romance storylines. :)

Hells - I'm actually with you on your two dealbreakers. Sex is a real part of the social constraints of the time period. Just out of practicality. They didn't have birth control. Unprotected sex has very real, reputation breaking consequences. So, when they act like those things aren't there, that gets on my nerves.

And, I think that sex too soon is a deal breaker for me in any genre too. Right now I think the pressure to make everything hotter is destroying good romance. But that's just me.

I love redos too. :)

Marnee said...

Bluestocking - I think the nitpickers drive away plenty of authors who would write amazing historicals. I've heard plenty of times--from very talented writers--that they don't want to try their hand at a historical because the research is too daunting.

I've also heard from a few published writers that they get "hate" mail from readers who had issue with some historical thing wrong with their story.

In my humble opinion, I think that it's most important to hold on to the "big picture" things in historicals. The social things, particularly. Eloping and illegitimacy. Primogeniture. But if a word is off by a few decades, I think it's fine. Or if a character is a little fiestier than what we expect, I think it's fine. Would they completely buck their social norms? Not without major consequences. But strong isn't historically inaccurate in my book. Same as a very shy, modest heroine wouldn't be inaccurate for a contemporary.

Hellion said...

See, I don't get the hate mail. Why would you waste your energy writing an author about this? What purpose does it serve? Did it make you feel better at all--probably not. Is it likely to change the author's writings in the future--VERY unlikely. Did you point out something the author was actually unaware of--again, very very unlikely. So that means you're bitching about something the author doesn't really care about in the long run. The author is probably laughing all the way to the bank.

If you don't like something, then don't buy that author anymore. DO NOT stand in her long line at a signing, buy her hardback, and then tell her you hate where she's taken the series. WTF. You're not going to be perceived as helpful and the reason why she changed her series progress--you're just going to be rightly perceived as a nutjob.

Incidentally a well-published author used the word "clone" in the first paragraph of her historical and I refused to read the rest of the story, though my friend assured me it was a good story. I'm sure it was--but it's the little things that sometimes set me off. Incidentally I wasn't wild about her using a fictional country to make her hero a prince of it. It feels to Harlequin Presents.

Hellion said...

In my humble opinion, I think that it’s most important to hold on to the “big picture” things in historicals. The social things, particularly. Eloping and illegitimacy. Primogeniture. But if a word is off by a few decades, I think it’s fine. Or if a character is a little fiestier than what we expect, I think it’s fine. Would they completely buck their social norms? Not without major consequences. But strong isn’t historically inaccurate in my book. Same as a very shy, modest heroine wouldn’t be inaccurate for a contemporary.

Agreed. But I think it's the fact that "strong" heroines aren't...punished in modern historicals that annoys me. There are no consequences for being mouthy and outgoing. *LOL*

I just got done watching Downton Abbey, which is hilarious and highly recommended, and one of the daughter goes to give her opinion about something and her grandmother says, "You are too young to have an opinion. You can have one when you're married; and when you're married, your husband will tell you what your opinion is." *LOL* THAT seems in keeping with the historical world as I know it.

Marnee said...

I don't get it either, Cap'n. Or when reviewers flame the author for this stuff on Amazon. I mean, shouldn't an Amazon review be about the story? Maybe a mention of various historical inaccuracies if it really made a difference in the reader's ability to enjoy the story. But if the story was good and just a few inconsistencies occur, I think it's ridiculous to give a nasty review.

The whole where the series is going argument is an interesting one. There's an author I read who I've considered not reading again because I've been disappointed in the direction of her series. I'm not sure I'll buy her next book. But, if I do, it's not her fault if I'm disappointed.

Janga said...

I'm not the purist that Hellie is, but I do expect the author writing historical romance to know more about the relevant period than I do. So if a hero is partying in France during the Napoleonic Wars or a heroine is zipping up her gown, it does pull me out of the story and make me unlikely to read the author again. On the other hand, many of the errors that some readers rant about don't bother me at all since my ignorance allows me to read blissfully unaware that fine points of law have been ignored or the wrong flowers are blooming in a certain area.

I do think writers such as Jo Beverley, Loretta Chase, Mary Jo Putney, and others have long been showing that historical accuracy and unforgettable characters can be found in the same books.

Marnee said...

hahaha!! “You are too young to have an opinion. You can have one when you’re married; and when you’re married, your husband will tell you what your opinion is.”

I agree about the consequences, though. I think this is also why I'm shying away from writing titled folks right now. My hero is a baron, inherited it after his uncle and his cousin die. My heroine is a prostitute/mistress. And my next story, if I go where I think I will next, has the son of a brothel mistress and a gypsy. I think I'll have a little more leeway.

Bosun said...

Ironically, Downton Abbey is almost a contemporary compared to Georgian or Regency set stories. It IS the 20th century, after all. LOL!

I've read historicals forever, it seems, yet in the last couple years, not so much. I read all of Eloisa's and a few from Kleypas, but the others pile up on my TBR shelves collecting dust. Oh, I did read Miranda Neville and loved it. Very well done.

If the carriage is wrong for the period or a word is used 10 years before some reference material says it should be, I will never know. If the heroine calls the hero her "boo", I will know. Don't do that.

I would prefer we gloss over the extreme ugly conditions of London, but a mention of a bad odor should be thrown in if they're driving through some bad streets. I appreciate when an authors takes the time to find out how long it would take to get from London to Edinburgh by carriage. It's not a trip done in a day back then, even I know that.

But I'm not the stickler Hellie is with how people behaved. Truth be told, I would not want to read about a hero who was utterly boorish, over-bearing, and disrespectful to women in general. I know that's likely the reality, but I'm not reading historical novels, I'm reading historical FICTION. It's our FANTASY idea of how things might have been.

I totally agree on the taking-sex-lightly issue. Sex had huge consequences back then, young women were mostly uneducated on the details, and I don't like when a girl of 19 goes from utter ignorance to sex kitten in a matter one encounter.

Marnee said...

Janga - I agree about the really apparent discrepancies. But you're right about the flowers and fine points of law. I don't have a masters in British history but I'm a pretty well-informed layperson. There's a line between grievous errors and serious nitpicking. I'm not sure where it is exactly but I know it when I see it.

And you're right about the authors who do it well. I'm in awe of them. :)

Hellion said...

Marn, I did give a flaming review ONCE where I went off about historical inaccuracy rather than the story, but in my defense, I haven't done it since, I was young (and hadn't written much myself), and was really put out that the author had chocolate in her historical 300 years before it came to England. And it wasn't a time travel. But exactly if YOU'RE the one buying the book and you're unhappy, stop buying it. Stop reading it. There are PLENTY of other books available to you that you can read and that are better.

Janga, I don't know about flowers--that stuff doesn't bother me. But I know just enough about the dukes of the era to be dangerous. Which I realize is a problem. Many of these flamers know enough to be dangerous--they know enough to think they know everything rather than what they actually know.

I know recently some reviewer was flaming a book because the character was trying to inherit even though they were illegitimate and the reviewer said that "NEVER" happened. But my first thought was "Yes, it did"--I've read it once, the historical circumstances where it did happen. Not all the time, clearly, but once is enough to base your story on if you do it right. Second, the reviewer was critiquing someone we all know is a lawyer. *LOL* What a joke that the lawyer wouldn't know about the LAW--or that she wouldn't research it when clearly she's probably as anal as the average reader?

I don't know. I'll still go off about stuff, but I do trying to keep my rants within a private circle and not try to persuade all of Amazon. And also try to couch my rants to "It drove ME crazy"--since what drives me crazy doesn't drive everyone crazy, just as what drives other people crazy ("Too many virgins!") doesn't make me crazy.

You can't please everyone--that's what bad reviews have taught me. There's no way. Please yourself first.

Hellion said...

I agree about Jo Beverly and Mary Balough--they are excellent! And I've heard almost universal praise for Loretta Chase (not a fan of her voice, but her ability to make stories seem historically "probable" is without question.)

Hellion said...

I would not want to read about a hero who was utterly boorish, over-bearing, and disrespectful to women in general.

This is how a lot of men act now--why would anyone think they were that different in their behavior back then?

Well, I'll give you that they were probably more polite. But did they think women were smart and capable of wrapping their little brains about big concepts like politics or education?

I think it's the equality thing. We all want to be treated as equals. That's such an American way of thinking and yet we keep insisting our British-set literature should have it. *LOL*

2nd Chance said...

Wellllll, I don't write historicals. I do read them now and then and I prefer that if someone is writing a historical, be accurate about things like geography.

I know, that is my nitpick point. Unless that horse has wings, it ain't gonna trot from London to Paris. Period.

And I'm more likely to scream at the accurate historical because the characters are doing something that drives me crazy. Eloisa's sisters books, when they wouldn't tell the youngest anything about sex! I swore I wanted to reach into the pages and throttle them! I know it's accurate, but it drove me nuts!

Since my books are all about, not even rewriting history...more about totally stepping outside of history...not an issue with me. But I bet I will get some reader who will want to snip at me about it!

Marnee said...

Bo'sun - I think your examples of historical accuracy fit me just fine. It's the difference between caring about "ambiance" as Donna says and being so caught up in the historical details as to miss out on the story.

And I haven't read a lot of new historicals these days either. I'm not sure why. I think in a lot of ways, the new stuff coming out feels a little stale to me. Same story lines, not a lot of fresh. Even the ways the stories are freshened up--heat level, different takes on old tropes--aren't interesting enough for me to sit through entire stories. I think I've started and not finished more historicals in the last five years than any other genre of book. I just will lose interest.

Anyone else feeling that way?

Hells - I've never written a review of another author's work. I don't know why but I just don't feel like I'm able to be a good reviewer. Writing is so hard. Nitpicking at someone else's efforts--when I know how much effort I put in--makes me feel hypocritical. I know I'd try to be tactful. I can't imagine myself flaming anyone. I just feel too self-conscious about it.

And there's something to be said for people who know just enough to be dangerous in any field. Sometimes, I think, that the world would be a lot better off if people recognized as their knowledge grew that there was also so much else to know out there.

Marnee said...

I think it’s the equality thing. We all want to be treated as equals. That’s such an American way of thinking and yet we keep insisting our British-set literature should have it.

hahaha!! Sooo true.

Chance - that not telling the youngest sister about sex was a little frustrating. LOL!! I told my younger sister about Santa for crying out loud. You don't think I'd be able to keep something as cool as that--or sex--a secret from her! LOL!!

And I don't think anyone should have room to nitpick about stepping out of history. I think that seems like the fun of the "steampunk" genre too. It's reality, but with a twist. :)

Irisheyes said...

I'm not a real stickler either. I've read enough over the years to know a bit but probably not even enough to be as dangerous as Hellie. LOL It has to be glaringly obvious for me to catch a mistake. I think it is probably mostly in the language and the heroine's attitudes. I'm all for strong heroines, but they would have to have strength relative to their times. I would second (or is it third?) the irritation with heroine's that act as if they were raised in Southern California in the 1980's.

I think the trick is writing an historically accurate strong female. Everyone wants a strong kick-ass heroine. The naive young virgins are taboo. Unfortunately the authors confuse strength with promiscuity. Or maybe not even promiscuity but waaaay too much knowledge of things that no lady back in the day would know about. It also happens when they try to make their heroine strong and instead she just winds up being a bitch. There is a balance there that seems to be hard for some to master. Probably why I don't want to try writing historicals! LOL

2nd Chance said...

Irish - I like that idea, that writers confuse strength with promiscuity... Good point!

In a society where sex is seen as easy and common, the one who didn't want sex would be the strong one... Hee! What an idea to play with! ;-)

Irisheyes said...

I find in my own writing when I try to show my heroine's strength I have a tendancy to just make her nasty. Instead of giving her strength of character I have her mouthing off or being mean. Maybe the reason I spot it instantly when I see it.

It's kind of like when I was a teenager and you thought all the cool, tough kids were the ones that smoked, swore all the time and slept around. I think sometimes that teenage mentality still rings true.

Hellion said...

I’m all for strong heroines, but they would have to have strength relative to their times.

EXACTLY. It's not relative to the period.

And I of course loved the sisters not telling Josie about sex. *LOL* That was so spot on for me.

I already think a LOT of liberties are taken with history for the sake of "fantasy fiction", like attitudes about slavery, the poor, the middle class, and a hundred other things we take for granted now because it's PC. There was no politically correct 100 years ago--or even 50 years ago--so the fantasy history where the darker, seamier parts of life have been whitewashed so we can enjoy the story is enough for me. If you change every single aspect (i.e. sex, mores, society), then it shouldn't be termed historical anything anymore.

And yes, Marn, I have put down more historicals in the last 5 years than I've read, but I'm afraid I'm not the person you wanted to agree with you about this. I'm sure you were reaching for someone less "purist". *LOL*

Hellion said...

It is difficult to create a strong heroine and not just make her mean. *LOL* It's almost like you have to make her silent. *LOL*

HOWEVER, don't we usually prefer the heroes who are heroic and strong, but don't necessarily mouth off, brag, or talk much?

Clearly silence is the virtue.

Bosun said...

I'm not putting books down, I'm just not picking them up. Partly because if I read too much historical stuff while trying to write, my contemporary characters start to sound like Jane Austen characters.

I don't think leaving out some historical realities means you can't call it historical. I'm writing contemporaries and my characters aren't in front of the boob tube every moment. I never mention anyone going to the bathroom, cover several weeks and never mention my heroine having her period.

We're telling stories, whatever the time period. Not ever detail is required for the story to work. If the story is not about the poor working conditions for lower class citizens in the 1800s, then it doesn't belong in the story. Doesn't necessarily mean the author is pretending the facts don't exist.

Marnee said...

Irish - I'm with Chance. You're right! A lot of author's are confusing strength with promiscuity/knowledge of sex. Maybe this is a male/female thing. Knowledge of sex would technically have been a male thing back then. By having it now as a female thing, it shifts a power paradigm. I get the logic, but I don't really like it. It doesn't fit with the time period. And I don't think that's the message I'm trying to send in my stories. I want my heroine to be strong because of what's in her head, not between her legs.

Same as I want my hero to not just be strong physically but strong at heart and mind too.

And I like the whole, "Strong doesn't equal bitch" mentality too! I think that's so apt. There's some line there. In recent paranormals, I find a lot of bitchy heroines. It's particularly a turn off when it's a 1st person POV. Because then it's not just that she's "acting" like a bitch; she actually IS a bitch.

Marnee said...

Hells - And yes, Marn, I have put down more historicals in the last 5 years than I’ve read, but I’m afraid I’m not the person you wanted to agree with you about this. I’m sure you were reaching for someone less “purist”.

I'll take you Hells. I don't think I'm putting them down for inaccuracies. I'm putting them down because I'm bored. I won't name names, but it's not just a few. I've been trying to figure out why, but I just can't put my finger on it.

Hellion said...

Yes, a lot of it is boredom. I don't know. It can even be a tried and true trope for me and sometimes it bores me. Is it voice? *shrugs*

Marnee said...

Partly because if I read too much historical stuff while trying to write, my contemporary characters start to sound like Jane Austen characters.

hahaha!! I had a vision of what this would sound like and it cracked me up. :)

And I love what you say about what is left out. If it's not important to the story, it doesn't have to be mentioned.

Marnee said...

Yeah, I don't know either. All I know is that I want the emotional punch of Whitney, My Love or The Gift. What happened to that kind of historical?

Hellion said...

I loved The Gift. The hero was gruff--like a marshmallow. All crusty on the outside, gooey on the inside. *LOL* And that one did feature a period. *LOL* Hysterical part of the novel. And I loved the detail about how the ship ran...and the superstitions, the galley, the stove that wasn't a stove.

I'm not sure. They don't make writers like Julie Garwood anymore. *LOL* I think all of us want to grow up to be like her, but aren't sure how.

Marnee said...

Same goes for Judith McNaught. I cut my teeth on her stories, and Jude Deveraux's historicals. I see traces of them in Lisa Kleypas but I want more!! :)

2nd Chance said...

Show their strength somewhere other than between their legs...that is true! Just as showing a man isn't just the brain between his legs...

It's an interesting war between the sexes in that context.

My uf heroine can be a real bitch, but it's her block toward emotional vulnerability that makes her that way. But it was necessary to show her doing exactly what she's doing for a reason to the reader. The other characters don't always get it...

Bosun said...

My heroine is more stubborn than bitchy, but when she is bitchy, it's because she's frustrated and tired of trying to juggle everything she insists she can control. I hope that comes through.

Bosun said...

Judith McNaught books got me through HS alive. Same with Julie Garwood. But if I could grow up to be anyone, it would be LaVyrle Spencer. Best. Books. Ever.

Donna said...

Hey pirates, I'm back. I had to go with my friend to the ER since she had been rear-ended in a car accident this morning. She's fine but gonna be sore. :(

I wonder if some of the disillusionment with current historicals is because there isn't that sense of magic that we experienced with some of the classic folks. In an effort to be different nowadays, it feels like things are done for shock value, or it's considered fresh because it hasn't been done, when maybe it never should have been done. LOL

I think we've gotten a little jaded as readers, and we want to be charmed like we did when we first fell in love with romance novels. (I've actually been working on a blog post on this topic.)

Hellion said...

I've been loving Jude Deveraux's new series. There was a time when some of Jude's stuff was sorta off the map for me, but I'm glad she's circled the wagons back around.

Bosun said...

I think it's too much sex. LOL! Forcing sex into stories that don't need that much.

And they do seem lighter these days. Can't say I don't like light, I do. Tessa Dare would probably be called light, but I love her stuff. Some is too light though, as if the book might float away on a cloud of cute dialogue if I don't hold it down.

Looking forward to that blog, Donna. And happy to hear your friend is okay. Hope they gave her some good stuff for the pain that will come tomorrow.

Bosun said...

Hellie - Are you going to read the new Women's Fiction from Jill Barnett? I know you love her but wasn't sure you'd go for that one.

Hellion said...

Do you mean Bridge to Happiness? I would. But it's only an e-book right now. Her Days of Summer was women's fiction and it was really good.

But very much looking forward to her historicals this year.

Jill would be considered "frothy" but hers still had substance. Real stakes. I think that's part of it; the stakes don't seem BIG ENOUGH in more modern fare.

2nd Chance said...

The idea that is has to be shocking to be sex everywhere and everywhen. I don't know, we are a bit of a jaded society.

I tend to look at very accurate historicals along the same line as very accurate science fiction. You have be able to understand the accuracy and not let it distract from the story and atmosphere. I mean, it was great to know that most everything Asimov wrote was probably and likely to be in the future, but I don't need blueprints that I have to decipher. Same thing with historicals.

I don't want to find myself trying to figure out what the heck this is or that is. If it intererupts the flow of the story, toss it. Accurate or not.

Same goes with inaccuracies, like sex everywhere and everywhen.

Bosun said...

Yep, that's the one I meant. Read about it on Janga's blog today and didn't realize it was ebook only.

Chance - I think I've seen Julia Quinn mention something like that. There are times she has to choose between using the right word for the time, and the word that will keep the reader in the story and not pull her out. She goes with the word that won't jar the reader.

2nd Chance said...

Yeah, Bo'sun, then the risk is you will jar the very accurate historical reader! You know, it simply isn't possible to satisfy everyone!

Marnee said...

Ahhh... I always get running around like a crazy person toward the end of the day. I couldn't get back here until now, with babies all asleep.

Chance - the battle between the sexes is pretty interesting. And what we can do with it as writers is even more interesting. :)

Donna - I think your blog sounds cool, but I'm with Ter. I think it's too much sex. Or... and I've been toying with this... I think that it could be that I've trended away from the lighter, fluffier romance and toward the deeper. It might be what's going on in my life and sometime in the future I'll want something a little lighter for reading.

Dunno. It doesn't seem to be affecting everyone though as historicals make up such a large chunk of the romance market.

Chance - I love you. Sex everywhere and everywhen. LOL! I agree with you wholeheartedly. And i like how you compare it to science fiction. Very true. :)

Yeah, Bo’sun, then the risk is you will jar the very accurate historical reader!

Yeah, but I think there are less of them. And if they're really into the story, maybe they won't notice. *grins*