Feb. 16th, 2013

gillpolack: (Default)
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It's about time I had a list of ten. These are things I've noticed appear in fiction unexpectedly and unhappily. I'm tempted to offer a prize to anyone who identifies all the sources. Mind you, I'm also tempted to celebrate anyone who adds another ten items to this list. It's a warning to lazy writers.

1. If you need extensive tunnels and caves and exceptionally vast basements under a city, make sure the city is not built on marshland.

2. If a picture inspires a tale and is a strong component of the story, make sure that the story is contemporaneous with the picture.

3. If you depict exotic religions and cultures, remember that they seldom feel exotic to those who grow up within them.

4. If ladies wear corsets, allow for shortness of breath when those ladies run.

5. If a young man wears a belt knife and runs into another young man who also wears a belt knife, injury is not improbable.

6. Do not confuse pounds and shillings with dollars and cents, nor confuse silver pennies from the twetlfth century with the golden coins of later.

7. The UK is not known for its native skunk population.

8. Black swans are quite normal in civiised climes. I've heard rumours, however, that the swans in England are naturally white.

9. Strained dialogue is strained dialogue in any period: making speech sound artifical seldom makes it natural to a period.

10. International trade, colonisalism and medium to large scale industries are not solely modern, nor are England and America the only countries guilty of them.

None of this applies to comic novels, of course, which is why it's a good idea to assume that certain authors are possessed of a subtle and refined wit.

May 2013

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