Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Cliches in Historical Fiction

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.
Post Reply
User avatar
LoveHistory
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3751
Joined: September 2008
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Contact:

Post by LoveHistory » Thu March 14th, 2013, 4:06 pm

[quote=""Margaret""] The main character exploded out of his chair (in response to upsetting news, I believe), exploded out of something else, and finally exploded out of his pants. [/quote]

And Drake thought to himself, I knew I shouldn't have eaten that jumbo bean burrito.

User avatar
EC2
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3661
Joined: August 2008
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Post by EC2 » Thu March 14th, 2013, 9:51 pm

I was reading a timeslip historical where in every scene people threw themselves down onto chairs and sofas. Once or twice is okay and gives you that feeling of energy and immediacy - you know it's not literal. But with overkill, one's vision of it does become literal. It crosses that boundary and now when a character enters the room, you immediately visualise them casting themselves at the furniture and worrying that it will soon need upholstering.

I came across this line (unintentionally hilarious) in a novel that shall remain nameless, but it's a recent -ish work of historical fiction.
'...Suddenly her eyes were no longer in custody but running amok.'
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

www.elizabethchadwick.com

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite 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

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Thu March 14th, 2013, 10:58 pm

[quote=""EC2""]
'...Suddenly her eyes were no longer in custody but running amok.'[/quote]
The mind boggles :eek: . I wonder if she had to catch them by feel?

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Thu March 14th, 2013, 11:32 pm

I can't recall if it's been mentioned, and I am too miserable with a nasty head cold to read back. First person narrative - if you're going to use it, use it reasonably. Too many conversations listened via keyholes or hidden in cupboards wears thin very fast. If your character can't witness events first hand, don't use it and don't info dump to catch your character (and reader) up on what happened elsewhere.

More common in romance, but I can't resist mentioning:

Sex on the horse
Sex in the carriage (Regencies)
Heroine imobilized (sp?) by the arm grab. Really?

*ponders*

I know there's more, plus some hilarious threads at the Amazon romance boards. I'll search them out when I'm feeling better.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
DianeL
Bibliophile
Posts: 1029
Joined: May 2011
Location: Midatlantic east coast, United States
Contact:

Post by DianeL » Fri March 15th, 2013, 12:09 am

EC2, that sounds uncomfortable not only for the eyes' owner, but it sounds almost impish and rude of the eyeballs!

rebecca, I brought that one up once - it drives me BATS (though not eyelash-batting). I think we had a discussion about how heavy and long one'e lashes would have to be to curtain the eyes like that. :)
"To be the queen, she agreed to be the widow!"

***

The pre-modern world was willing to attribute charisma to women well before it was willing to attribute sustained rationality to them.
---Medieval Kingship, Henry A. Myers

***

http://dianelmajor.blogspot.com/
I'm a Twit: @DianeLMajor

rebecca
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 798
Joined: July 2011

Post by rebecca » Fri March 15th, 2013, 1:48 am

"rebecca, I brought that one up once - it drives me BATS (though not eyelash-batting). "

LOL Diane, it came to mind because I had just read it again in another book that night. It is impossible to 'look or peer through her eyelashes'...Why can't they use...'she lowered her head and peeked up at him(aka the princess Diana gaze), it's more realistic.

"many conversations listened via keyholes or hidden in cupboards wears thin.."

*nods head*...I think I read a book with Jane Parker Boleyn where she was forever hiding behind screens, inside cubboards or behind the doors....I thought what next-hiding up on the great four poster bed? :eek: :p

"Suddenly her eyes were no longer in custody but running amok.'

That had me giggling. :p

Bec :)

User avatar
Lisa
Bibliophile
Posts: 1153
Joined: August 2012
Favourite HF book: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Preferred HF: Any time period/location. Timeslip, usually prefer female POV. Also love Gothic melodrama.
Location: Northeast Scotland

Post by Lisa » Fri March 15th, 2013, 6:45 pm

[quote=""rebecca""]
"many conversations listened via keyholes or hidden in cupboards wears thin.."

*nods head*...I think I read a book with Jane Parker Boleyn where she was forever hiding behind screens, inside cubboards or behind the doors....I thought what next-hiding up on the great four poster bed? :eek: :p
[/quote]
Yep, my first thought also was that novel, The Boleyn/Tudor Wife by Brandy/Emily Purdy (it had a slightly different title in the UK and she used a much more British sounding pen-name!). To be fair, Jane Parker Boleyn does tend to eavesdrop and spy on people a lot when she turns up in fiction for some reason, but that book was just ridiculous!

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Fri March 15th, 2013, 9:33 pm

[quote=""LadyB""]Yep, my first thought also was that novel, The Boleyn/Tudor Wife by Brandy/Emily Purdy (it had a slightly different title in the UK and she used a much more British sounding pen-name!). To be fair, Jane Parker Boleyn does tend to eavesdrop and spy on people a lot when she turns up in fiction for some reason, but that book was just ridiculous![/quote]

That's the book I had in mind as well.

Speaking of first person, other bugaboos are things like the narrator (while talking to herself), mentions her creamy neck, glorious hair and heaving bosoms. Stuff like that, especially when it's done over and over and over again. Or like a certain book about Anne Neville that had Anne thinking of her parents as the Earl and Countess...

Oh, and don't forget the As you know, Bob trope. Philippa Gregory being one of the worst offenders.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

rebecca
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 798
Joined: July 2011

Post by rebecca » Sat March 16th, 2013, 3:10 am

[quote=""LadyB""]Yep, my first thought also was that novel, The Boleyn/Tudor Wife by Brandy/Emily Purdy (it had a slightly different title in the UK and she used a much more British sounding pen-name!). To be fair, Jane Parker Boleyn does tend to eavesdrop and spy on people a lot when she turns up in fiction for some reason, but that book was just ridiculous![/quote]

I think I actually threw that book across the room...wasn't worth the money! But that's the one I was thinking of.

Bec :)

User avatar
Lisa
Bibliophile
Posts: 1153
Joined: August 2012
Favourite HF book: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Preferred HF: Any time period/location. Timeslip, usually prefer female POV. Also love Gothic melodrama.
Location: Northeast Scotland

Post by Lisa » Sat March 16th, 2013, 1:58 pm

[quote=""rebecca""]I think I actually threw that book across the room...wasn't worth the money! But that's the one I was thinking of.

Bec :) [/quote]

I didn't finish it. I read about 1/3 of the way through and decided I'd had enough, so for one last giggle I skipped to the infamous 'honeypot' scene, read that, shook my head, and put it on the charity shop pile :)

Post Reply

Return to “General Discussion”