Saturday, December 24, 2005

Nitpicking habits

Recently I've discovered that I have a huge pet peeve. It has been growing for some time without me even realizing it. Everyone has that one little thing that will completely throw them out of a story and may even stop them from finishing the book. I've always said that a good writer could get around some of that stuff, but now I'm not so sure....

I finished Samantha Saxon's latest book the other day, The Lady Killer. This book embodies my frustration with many authors who attempt to write in the Regency period. I know, it's not a new complaint, but lately it's been driving me nuts! Titles and forms of address. Now, I was willing to cut this author some slack with her first book. After all, everyone makes mistakes. But she didn't fix the errors with the second book and the excerpt from the third book shows even more. This author states that she is a member of RWA. Did none of her author friends read her book and pick up on this? This author shows talent and I really wanted to like her books, but every time Lady Purvill or Lady Appleton entered the scene, I lost it.

I started to wonder why this bothers me so much. After all, it's just a book. Why not just toss it and move on? The answer is: I feel cheated. I expect an author to do their research and I want to be able to trust that the historical pieces of a book are accurate. If an author isn't willing to research something as easy as titles and forms of address (the best titles site), how can I trust that they did their research on anything else? That's what irks me. I like to learn about history by reading fiction with a strong sense of place and time. There are some great romance novelists out there who make this look easy. Unfortunately too many of them aren't willing to do the legwork.

Hopefully, this trend doesn't continue and I can happily read and learn at the same time....

1 comment:

Terescia said...

These days, it's more difficult than ever to make a living as an author. When authors have to spend days, weeks, or months on research, it's unlikely they'll have time for the day job AND the writing. So, only the few who make lots of money can afford the time it takes to do all the research. Or someone who just happens to love the research.... I guess that's just one of those things most readers aren't willing to put up with. And possibly why it's getting harder and harder to find those great authors. Catch-22, you know?

As more authors come on the scene, there's less money available for each, and fewer authors can afford to put out fewer books in the interest of research and accuracy.

I've noticed a definite trend of increasing numbers of books each year from the same authors who might have published one book a year (or less) just 10 years ago.

It's sad when it's all about money, but more often than not, it is. Fan letters aren't all that edible.