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hi from me, and help pls:)

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Telynor
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Post by Telynor » Mon November 10th, 2008, 11:30 pm

[quote=""EC2""]I have yet to read a novel without anachronisms. As a writer I certainly wouldn't claim to be anachronism free. But some authors have less anachronisms than others. It does boil down not only to research but to understanding that research and to being inter-disciplinary.[/quote]

There are some anachronisms that will ruin a book for me -- most infamous are those that are set in the Renaissance and before that have people eating potatos. Or having a gentlewoman running about in pre-WWI times without a corset on, or other grevious errors in dress. Modern idiom and slang will also ruin a book for me. I agree with EC here, knowing the period inside and out will save a novel -- one of the reasons that I enjoy her work so much is that she -does- get it right.

As to the cost of using anachronisms -- given that there are an awful lot of historical re-enactors out there, someone, somewhere, will pick up on a mistake, and will sometimes gleefully point it out in a review. I think that it finally gets down to how enjoyable the story and characters are vs. the amount of inaccuracies.

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Tue November 11th, 2008, 1:11 am

As to the cost of using anachronisms -- given that there are an awful lot of historical re-enactors out there, someone, somewhere, will pick up on a mistake, and will sometimes gleefully point it out in a review. I think that it finally gets down to how enjoyable the story and characters are vs. the amount of inaccuracies.
A well written tale can make a lot of anachronisms more forgiveable, a poorly written tale and it's going to stand out like a sore thumb. I recently read an historical romance that probably would have come out OK, but for the fact that it started in the mining camps in the Rocky Mountains and then they went WEST to Denver. Where was the editor? The Rockies are west of Denver so when going from the Rockies to Denver one would be travelling EAST. I was amazed that none of the other readers picked up on that one.

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Margaret
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Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
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Post by Margaret » Tue November 11th, 2008, 1:42 am

Marnie, if you explore this site, you'll find a number of threads in which people talk about historical inaccuracies in various novels they've read, and how they reacted. Readers vary in how much they know about any particular historical period, so some pick up anachronisms that others will miss. Readers also vary quite a bit in how much they are bothered by the anachronisms they find. And some anachronisms are worse than others.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Tue November 11th, 2008, 7:57 am

For me it is more important how an author treats the feel of the period.

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sweetpotatoboy
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Post by sweetpotatoboy » Tue November 11th, 2008, 10:14 am

Welcome to the forum and best of luck with your daunting project.

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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Tue November 11th, 2008, 2:03 pm

[quote=""Volgadon""]For me it is more important how an author treats the feel of the period.[/quote]


Same with me. That, more than anything else, is what makes the difference.

And welcome to the site!

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Tue November 11th, 2008, 9:08 pm

Come to think of it, George MacDonald Fraser was chock full of errors and anachronisms, BUT he had the good sense (and knowledge) to catch them himself. Of course it helped that he was the 'editor'.....

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Christina
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Post by Christina » Tue November 11th, 2008, 11:30 pm

I know it's not a book, but as someone pointed out on a TV programme recently, the BBC "Merlin" has people making sandwiches, throwing tomatoes and peeling potatoes....in the Dark Ages :-) .

I guess the difficulty with historical fiction is that the tiniest detail comes into play and if one is an expert on a particular topic it stands out like a sore thumb. The size of a carriage wheel, the shape of pens, the ink, the curtains/glass...everything. I think, where possible, an author needs to check all the tiniest objects mentioned to be truly authentic but even then, one or two things might slip through the net.
Some years ago, an alleged '"Diary of Jack the Ripper" was produced (very convincing, too, for many reasons). A huge debate ensued about when the expression "a one-off" came into English usage and also when the word "sick" as opposed to "ill" was first used in England...and when it came from America. Tiny details that someone will always notice...

A very interesting subject!
Last edited by Christina on Tue November 11th, 2008, 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: typing errors - I always have loads!

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Wed November 12th, 2008, 4:46 pm

Tomatoes and potatoes are definitely wrong, but would sandwiches be that much off? I would think that open-face sandwiches are as old as bread itself.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
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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) » Wed November 12th, 2008, 7:16 pm

As I heard it, the sandwich was invented by the Earl of that name, who was an inveterate gambler. Reluctant to leave his game, he had his servants put meat between slices of bread so that his hands would not get greasy and soil the cards.

If this is true (I haven't verified it) that would put the sandwich invention date well past 1500. I don't know when cards became popular, but since paper-making technology was only brought to Europe (via Muslim Spain) circa 1350, it must have taken a while for it to displace parchment, let alone show up as playing cards.

And welcome to the forum, Marnie! As to the cost of anachronisms, I don't know if a fiscal number can be assigned to the proliferation of misconceptions.

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