"SarahWoodbury" wrote:Honestly, I would just do your best and accept what comes. New research comes out all the time and that's what the 'fiction' in historical fiction is all about. Yes, there are things that drive people crazy, but what bothers one won't bother another. If you serve potatoes in England in the 13th century, that would be a problem, but just do your best and don't worry about it.
That said, do you have a writing partner? Someone who shares your love of history? I don't think you need an 'expert'--just someone who might flag certain issues that you might not know are issues and send you in the direction of getting better answers. We are all constantly learning new things. Sometimes you learn something in time to put in the book and sometimes you don't . . .
Sarah's got some good advice there. Honestly, as much as we pick, it really happens when the book/storyline is suffering and then things start jumping out. Sometimes, as in the case of the astrology use, we're just not sure.
I believe even the great Sharon Penman was caught out in one of her earlier books for putting one of her characters in velvet - but then that was a long time ago before we had that instant access to information on the net.
One thing that really drives me nuts is using words that weren't around at the time of the story, i.e. having your heroine pronounce someone ill with influenza hundreds of years before the word was in common usage. One of my friends at Goodreads was caught up when indubitably (sp?) was put into a medieval book. But then again, those last two examples were from books that neither of us enjoyed very much.
But definitely never ever throw potatoes into your story until history says they got there