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Do you prefer real or imagined characters?

For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
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Post by EC2 » Tue September 2nd, 2008, 11:08 pm

As a reader it doesn't matter to me one bit. It's the journey that counts. As a writer, then these days it's real people although it didn't used to be. If it's real people (back in reader mode now), then they need to be believable and as close to the real person as possible. I realise that perhaps we'll never know the absolute truth about the real person, but I like the author to try and to have integrity.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal


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Post by JaneConsumer » Wed September 3rd, 2008, 12:14 am

Give me good story and credible historical background and I'm happy.

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Barbara Passaris
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REal or Imagined

Post by Barbara Passaris » Wed September 3rd, 2008, 12:31 am

For me, it's a toss. But I honestly think that in historical fiction you can't have one without the other. The trick when having fictitional characters is to make them so real that your readers actually believe in them so much that they become real.

But I have to say that it depends on my mood whether or not I want to have a historical fiction (which can often be historical biography) book with a true person from history or a made up person/group. Either way, the author had better make it worth my time by being accurate about the life and times, to the best of his/her ability. Let's face it, as authors we often make up a little snitch here and there to make the story fit right. But I wouldn't put any credence to the work of someone who made up a lot about, say, Queen Elizabeth I and put the defeat of the Spanish armada in 1592 in order to make their own story jibe....that is very UNcool, IMO...


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Post by Misfit » Wed September 3rd, 2008, 12:34 am

I can go either way, as long as it's a good story I'm a happy camper.

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Post by Spitfire » Wed September 3rd, 2008, 4:21 pm

I actually prefer to read about real historical people. But the writer has to really make the person real to me, otherwise it just doesn't cut it. On the other hand a really good writer can make a fictional character come to life, for example Gabbaldon's "Jaimy and Claire" then I am OK with that too.
Only the pure of heart can make good soup. - Beethoven

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Post by nona » Fri September 5th, 2008, 3:21 pm

I would have to agree with EC on this, I like both real and fictional characters but the author needs to make them come across as close to anyone at that time for me to believe in it.

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Post by donroc » Fri September 5th, 2008, 4:56 pm

Real but not very well documented like our typical Tudors and such. That allows much leeway in telling the story without changing history (too much).

Bodo the Apostate, a novel set during the reign of Louis the Pious and end of the Carolingian Empire.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXZthhY6 ... annel_page

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Post by LoveHistory » Fri September 5th, 2008, 7:49 pm

I'll take either as long as the story is good. Can't say I really prefer one over the other.

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Post by Carine » Wed September 10th, 2008, 11:24 am

[quote=""JaneConsumer""]Give me good story and credible historical background and I'm happy.[/quote]

That goes for me too.

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Post by Amanda » Wed September 10th, 2008, 11:34 am

I like either too. Though if the main character is imagined, I do like real characters to come into the story too.

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