Friday, November 30, 2007

Historical Accuracy

Two posts in one day!
But since they address completely different things, perhaps it's better done that way.
Over at Dear Author, there is a kerfuffle going on about historical accuracy in romance novels. It started when an author was called on about a detail in her latest book, and the responses are evoking a general fuss.
Me, I like accuracy, and I don't believe in twisting the period to fit the story, but that's just me. How do you feel?
After all, I have books on my keeper shelf that contain egregious inaccuracies, but I love them all the same. The author didn't make the same mistake twice, the plot didn't depend on the error and the error wasn't repeated throughout the book. The author wrote a compelling story about compelling people. So - meh.
But when an author gets it so wrong that I can't believe her depiction of the age which is the setting for the story, I stop believing in her characters, too. When the plot depends on something impossible, or an improbability is introduced as a normal event then I start to question.
But equally, when the history starts to take over the story, and the author stops the story for long explanations, that loses me too. I want the history to be the background to the story, to be its servant. So that's bad writing, too, in my opinion.

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