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hard fiction or soft 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.
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Post by LCW » Sat October 11th, 2008, 1:01 am

[quote=""Margaret""]Frankly, though, even in the bodice-ripper subgenre, I would never accuse any author published by a reputable publisher of being lazy. Lazy writers do not attract publishers. I might even argue that writing a good historical novel requires far more diligence, skill and experience than writing a good nonfiction history book, because the history in the novel needs to be sound, and the story woven out of the history needs to be enlightening, plausible and, most of all, entertaining. [/quote]

I was just thinking the exact same thing!! It must be so much easier for a contemporary novelist to write because they don't really have to do any research into the period setting. Living in the same time they are writing about it would just come second nature to them!! But a HF author has a whole other job in doing all the background research and THEN writing the novel. They don't have the luxury of sitting at the computer and just letting the words flow. I'm sure contemporary writers do research their subjects but not to the degree that a HF author would have to.
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

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Post by Divia » Sat October 11th, 2008, 3:34 am


You do have to be a little historian (some do it better than others) when it comes to writing our types of books. And people just dont know what it takes to write HF novels. When I was in a writing class I had written a story about a 19 cent woman in a loveless marriage. Everyone said "well have the woman leave." I shook my head. "its not that simple. Where is she to go?"

They just dont understand.
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Post by Marc » Thu December 17th, 2009, 12:53 pm

the story of Jacobsen is really good.I like it very much. :-)
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Post by Chatterbox » Thu December 17th, 2009, 4:33 pm

When I read the title of this thread, I initially thought it meant hard as in gritty and soft as in rose-tinted glasses (soft focus). Didn't realize that the OP's source was referring to hard or "soft" in terms of effort!

My bottom line is with Donroc. If it's good -- well-written, vivid characters, intriguing plot, not banal or imitative -- I like it. Doesn't matter whether the characters were real or not. And I don't think that one is harder to write than the other. What is "easy" in one way is "hard" in another. You may not have to research a real person and their character (though I'd submit that writing a convincing Charlemagne would be relatively straightforward given that he's been dead for more than a millennia and there are plenty of holes in the record that we could drive a literary bus through) but instead you have to pay attention to making that character 'real'. I don't think one is easier than the other -- just different.

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Post by Sharz » Fri December 18th, 2009, 5:53 pm

My initial reaction was "doesn't matter--I want a good story, well executed and well written." But a little more reflection shows that I do lean toward novels about real people, in that I will tolerate lesser writing and storytelling for real people, where I would not for fictional ones. Case in point: I'll continue to read Phillippa Gregory's novels about real people (most of them, anyway) but I have no interest in her Wideacre series, or anything else entirely fictional.
Last edited by Sharz on Sat December 19th, 2009, 3:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Celia Hayes
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Hard or Soft HF?

Post by Celia Hayes » Fri December 18th, 2009, 11:41 pm

"I have my own divide. Well written and well researched, and not."

Amen - and preach it, brother!
Celia Hayes

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