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Ridding HF of those dreadful stereotypes

njslater
Scribbler
Location: London

Ridding HF of those dreadful stereotypes

Postby njslater » Sat July 26th, 2014, 10:39 am

Do you agree that too many characters in HF are one dimensional and stereotypical? This is especially true of HF aimed at men.

I believe that in attempt to make their character "Victorian" they will usually be a white, God fearing, foreigner hating, Imperialist, misogynists. They may have a secret more immoral side as many Victorians did just to spice them up a bit.

The truth is the character I have created for my novels is just as believable and interesting in a fictional context. He is educated in the new sciences so questions God's very existence, he would die for his country though questions why but is a rogue in his not so secret private life.

History study is as much to blame portraying males as heroic stoically brave men all but does anyone really find that believable?
N.J. Slater writer of Napoleonic and Victorian era thrillers

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat July 26th, 2014, 8:50 pm

Badly-written fiction from any era is full of one-dimensional characters. I like to research people who really lived, add the findings to similar people I actually know to get believable characters. But sometimes the truth has to be shrunk considerably before it can be believed as fiction. Thomas Cochrane,upon whom the character Horatio Hornblower was based (and also Patrick O'Brien's protagonist Aubrey, I'm told), had to be watered down because what the man actually accomplished was absolutely astounding.

njslater
Scribbler
Location: London

Postby njslater » Sun July 27th, 2014, 9:37 am

That is most certainly true, some of history's characters are almost too unbelievable. Researching my second novel set in the 1880s I came across Colonel Blood who almost got away with stealing the Crown Jewels in 1671. His exploits were as off the wall as Cochrane.

One of the greatest problems for writers of fiction is the balance between interesting and believable.The truth is of course that most heroes in fiction have to be a little bit too exotic in order to capture the readers imagination. However as Cochrane and Blood illustrate such outlandish people did exist.
N.J. Slater writer of Napoleonic and Victorian era thrillers


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