Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tell me 'bout the good ol' days

I'm doing a beta read for a fellow writer.

It's a historical romance. I'm not sure if I told her when I agreed to read it, but historical romance was probably my least favorite genre.

The operative word there is WAS.

A little more than halfway through, I started to develop a new respect for writers of historical fiction.


Well, not only do writers of historical fiction have to do an incredible amount of research about the period and have a vivid imagination to twist their plots (like all writers), they also have to put themselves in a completely different frame of mind.

Our present-day society works nothing like that of old.

For instance, two days ago, I tried to explain to my daughter why it was inappropriate for her to have a boy in her room.

Molly: "Mom, you and dad were watching TV in the living room. We wanted to listen to music."

Me: "That's fine, dear, but not in your bedroom. And certainly NOT with the door closed."

Molly: "Why? I don't even like (boy) in that way. We're not going to do anything. Eeew." *shudders*

Me: "It's just not appropriate."

Molly: "But Mom..."

Me: "Someday when you have a daughter, you'll understand."

Now, compare this scene to 100 to 150 years ago, when social mores practically prohibited girls and boys Molly's age from so much as looking at each other without parental permission.

A century ago, a kiss constituted a lustful thought. Now, well. . .it's pretty sad when "Girls Gone Wild" commercials merely spur an eye roll or change of channel.

Sometimes I wonder what must go through my 96-year-old grandmother's mind when she watches television. Having watched Days of Our Lives religiously since its first episode, she's seen the decay of those old ways.

I used to think living back then would have been much simpler. I don't know about that, but it would certainly be a shock to the system.

Anyway, historical fiction has a new fan. Well, at least the author of the novel I'm reading has a new loyal fan.

Now, if someone could just pack a few more hours into the day.


Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Ooh, I love a good historical fiction - especially within the romance genre. And I agree with you, with all the research that has to go into it, I am always impressed by the people who take on the task of writing them.

Rosslyn Elliott said...

This is so sweet of you. You just made my whole week!

(That is, assuming you're not doing a beta read on someone else's historical romance.) LOL!

What has been really funny is getting the same reaction from my two male crit partners over the past few months as they read my second novel.

"We don't dig historical romance...well, this is pretty decent for historical romance..hey, we actually like this!"

I can't wait to ask you a few specific questions after I hear your initial unfiltered reaction. Thank you so much for investing your time!

lynnrush said...

HI! Yeah, I've been there on that one, Kat. Now, I've never read historical, so my "ah ha" moment didn't happen with that genre....

It was more the suspense one. Yeah. I read Brandilyn Collins' Dark Pursuit as an ARC and did a review on it. WOW, now I've read a couple more (different authors too).

BUT, my main love will always be the supernatural, but I was surprised how much I liked it.

I think any good story that can keep your attention helps!