On Saturday I was part of the HNS conference as I sat on a panel with Maureen Lee, Bernadine Kennedy and Jean Fullerton. There were ten different talks and workshops on at the same time and we were delighted that we attracted a good audience. The talk was about the perils and pitfalls of writing 20th century fiction - but a lot of what was said also applies to writing in the Georgian and Regency era.
Dialogue was one of the subjects discussed and both the panel and audience we all agreed that using dialect doesn't work and that it's better to change the rhythm of the speech to indicate that the speaker is historical. Gadzookery is not popular!
Another area talked about was research. Although there is no danger of anyone having been alive during our period to dispute our facts, it is perhaps easier to research modern history as there are not only books but aural records to refer to. Too many historical details can ruin a story for the reader - we all agreed that history should blend in to the story not dominate it. Characters and plot are always more important than the history, whatever era you are writing in.
Regency books are different to other historicals in that they are a sub-genre with their own rules and reader expectations.They are always romantic, often contain an adventure and must have a happy ending. That they must also be historically accurate goes without saying.
I was unable to go to any of the other interesting talks and workshops and wished that I could have done. The conference was well attended and well organised. I am looking forward to 2016 when the next one is in London again.
Fenella J Miller