Monday, March 19, 2012

Some rules for historical fiction

Things you can't put in an historical novel

Out-of-office replies
White people with dreadlocks
The Tragically Hip
Characters that make Star Wars references
Post-it notes
Arts funding bodies
More than one fat person

Things you shouldn’t put in an historical novel (or any novel for that matter)

Any description of a piece of clothing that runs to more than twenty-five words
A lighthouse
Reference to physiognomy
A romance between an upper class woman and a lower class man
A romance between an upper class man and a lower class woman
The construction, ‘like so many…’ (as in: ‘all of those politicians that you carry around in your pocket, like so many nickels and dimes’)
A character that turns out to be a famous historical figure at the end of the book

Things that should be in every historical novel

A coracle
(entirely too well-made for the purposes
of my kind of historical fiction)

Someone with an eyepatch
An elaborately carved walking stick
Cruelty to children
More than one dark-skinned character
A disgusting meal
A simile involving wolves
The construction of a coracle

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