As a writer in general, and specifically related to HF, I found this article very interesting in that numbers and comments give great insights into what interests readers or turns them off. I made a comment on this blog about POV, another area that, in my experience, is very important to many readers. Any reactions to this blog, or thoughts on POV?

A Writer of History

588 readers responded with enthusiasm to the question “what detracts from your enjoyment of historical fiction”.

44% Inaccuracies – includes seeing modern sensibilities in a historic setting, anachronisms, dialogue that does not fit the period, poor research, moving major dates to suit a story line and so on.

2% Dialogue – several people complained that using too much dialogue from a long ago period takes away from the ease of reading.

9%  Sex & Violence – this refers to stories with too much sex and violence rather than too little 🙂 In addition, some readers specifically mentioned gory battle scenes.

15%  Too much detail – refers to stories weighted down with reams of historical detail, almost as though the author wanted to include every bit of research found on a particular aspect of history.

15% Pace, Plot & Character – in the main, these comments referred to problems that can…

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2 Responses to “”

  1. Heidi Says:

    Not a comment on the reader survey I am afraid (although all three are great and I love Ms Todd’s site) – but a question inspired by one of your comments on her site. You mentioned you belong to two excellent crit groups for historical writers – and I pretty much went on point, like a hunting dog catching the scent.
    I belong to Scribophile, which is excellent, but the crit comments from people who don’t read historical fiction are driving me insane. Seriously – the protagonist searched her beaded reticule for coins on page two, then a few pages later she assumes footpads want her reticule – what could a reticule possibly be, her pet &%$ elephant? One critiquer wanted me to stop two pages into my first chapter to explain. Good idea – an infodump in my first chapter on Victorian handbags for people who don’t read historical fiction and are too stupid to pick up on the obvious – not happening! I honestly don’t think those people are my target market.
    Sorry – did I mention it is getting on my nerves? More like getting me on my soapbox to rant like a madwoman.
    To get to the point – are these crit groups you mentioned open to the public, and if so would you please tell me where I can find them? I am hoping they are online, as I live in Australia. The commute overseas is more than I am prepared to take on, no matter how good the groups may be 🙂
    Sorry to butt in on your post’s comments – but I really want a crit group for historical fiction. Please save a wannabe historical novelist from incipient madness – and innocent Australians may be saved serious trauma at the hands of some deranged woman screaming about reticules. Or maybe it was testicles…

    • Don Maker Says:

      Hi Heidi (does that sound redundant?),
      Thanks for your comments. The main group was on Yahoo, where there are several critique groups specific to HF. One is the Historical Fiction Writers Group; just go to Yahoo Groups and enter ‘historical fiction critique’ in the search field, or look for them specifically. The moderator is Carolyn. Google also has such groups. Most of the sincere crit groups will vet your work to make sure you are also sincere before approving you. And the members live all over the world.
      I have recently dropped out of critique groups because 1. I decided to revamp a couple of my old manuscripts, which are not exactly what these groups deal with; and 2. I’ve been asked by a producer to write a screenplay based on a concept I pitched, and these groups do not deal with screenplays. But I still recommend such groups to you, and hope you find one you really like.
      Best of luck, Don

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