Renaissance heroes

Robyn Starkey rohina at
Wed Aug 6 12:03:16 EDT 2003

>This is a fascinating discussion, but from my perspective I have another
>view. Writers who write historical or fantasy/historical (i.e. fnatasy that
>*seems* to take place in the past) fiction usually write about atypical
>characters. Think larger than life, think worse than life, think hero, think
>villain. We have to, because most editors think most readers don't want to
>read about ordinary people. Even if our characters appear to be ordinary,
>they always display wells of courage etc that don't ring strictly true. If
>we can find even one historical precedent - i.e. a female estate agent -
>we'll use it on the grounds that because there was one, there might have
>been more.

I totally understand this perspective, which is one of the reasons why I 
started out by arguing that the description of historical fiction as 
"speculative" is appropriate. Authors who are writing this kind of fiction 
naturally make a bunch of stuff up, with varying degrees of freedom/slavish 
devotion to historical research.

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