Historical Romance Writing – Context and Believability

BALANCING ROMANCE WITH HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Sometimes, Historical Romance authors (myself included) have allowed fact to get in the way of a good romance, risking reader boredom and page flicking. Generally, the copy editing process weeds out such instances, and a good author knows when a rewrite (or a sound flogging) is warranted.

No seasoned romance reader wants to find themselves suddenly yanked from the passionate embrace of a maddeningly handsome hero, merely because the author wants to describe the inner workings of a newly invented mangle, which sits in the background. Neither do readers care overly much for an entire scenery to be described; they want enough to set a scene, but it’s romance and not a nature walk they seek between the pages of a good Historical Romance.

A dear friend of mine reads my chapters as I write them; she looks forward to my latest offerings, and whenever I complete a novel she goes into serious withdrawal. Fortunately, Dianne is also not afraid to tell me when I’m boring the life out of her. I recall one paragraph that failed to set her juices flowing, and the email I received was scathing to say the least. I believe her words were,

He’s not a bloody vet neutering a horse, woman; what’s happened to you?

As it so happened, I had been struggling with a personal problem at the time, and should have been handcuffed and kept away from the keyboard. Sadly, I wasn’t, and I found myself only able to deliver the facts and not the passion. The passion is what makes the story, and I learned a valuable lesson from that experience.

Nobody likes a stickler for detail, and  all of the best authors have one or two who rear their heads when forks are used before the early 17th century, or sugar is spooned into a cup by those who can afford it, rather than nippered! At the end of they day, we Historical Romance authors aren’t about to refloat the Titanic for the sake of a HEA, but there’s no harm in adding another passenger or two to the manifest.

This Blog is about finding the balance between the contextual realities of the era in which the main characters of a Historical Romance find themselves, and the real reason somebody picks up a book; the romance itself. Together, I believe we can poke our toes over the ever hovering line of historical accuracy and explore new ways to both stimulate and educate our readers, without upsetting those obsessed with forks or sugar nippers.

 

sugar nippers

 

2 Responses to “Historical Romance Writing – Context and Believability”

  1. holyhellbatman March 22, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Lordy woman, you didn’t tell me about this snippet about moi. I can’t stop giggling, but am nonetheless thrilled that my somewhat blunt words jolted you back to romance as opposed to castration. I await with baited anticipation, the imminent release of your 5 novels that I may purchase same that they may take pride of place on my bookshelf!

    • lorrainehuntlynn March 22, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

      I remember those words well. It’s a silly author who ignores her greatest fan.

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