I’m tired of crunching numbers so I decided to take a peek at the write-in comments from the survey. I designed this year’s survey to minimize the amount of work I had to do tabulating responses — believe me, wading through hundreds of responses to an open question takes a lot of time — nonetheless there were a few places for participants to share their thoughts.
Here are some write-in comments related to factors that determine favourite historical fiction:
I appreciate reading full-bodied stories by wordsmiths who engage me into the story full throttle.
If a character has faults this makes him more human. If he fails to gain favour or position, again a believable human trait. It is how the author deals with some of the lesser characters necessary to the plot that puts realism into the retelling of a historical event or time-line.
I like an author to stick to the known facts, and elaborate to make the story readable, but not make up very much. And to tell me which parts are made up.
Characters and setting/times must ring true, avoid cliches. Characters must think and act appropriate to their times, not like modern people.
If the story moves me that is what is really the most important. I have to be drawn in, to be swept back in time and into this world created by the author. I do strongly prefer that the historical elements be researched and as authentic as possible without detracting from the story (it is fiction after all).
I love to be swept up in a good story. A historical setting just makes it even more of an escape.
romance, yes…sex, no
If I feel like a book is trying to comment on “marginalized” groups at the expense of historically dominant types, I deliberately won’t read it.
The lives of ordinary people who find themselves at the heart of extraordinary, historic events.