We interrupt my reading of a ridiculous werewolf romance for a really excellent post by author KJ Charles. I still read the occasional historical romance/mystery/ steampunk/etc. and the one thing that will make me toss the book no matter how interesting the story is if the author has not done the research on proper forms of address.
C’mon, it’s not that difficult to look up the proper form of address for every earl, duke, and prince. Sadly it seems a large number of wannabe writers think research is a dirty word.
So for all those who want to know here is KJ on proper address, and read the comments, some really good info there too.
I am fed up of seeing British-set historical romances that mess up with aristocratic titles. This is fundamental, and while some errors are pretty obscure, others stamp COULDN’T BE BOTHERED across your book. (I’m looking at you, authors who refer to Sir Samuel Smith as ‘Sir Smith’.)
Granted this is intricate and fussy stuff but if you’re writing aristos, it matters. The people inside the system care about the system, therefore if you’re writing characters inside the system, you have to care for the duration of the book. You cannot write about a society if you don’t understand its rules; you can’t write a book about a heroine constrained by social stratification if you have no idea what the social strata even are; you can’t do a faux pas scene of the out-group heroine getting it wrong if none of the in-group are getting it right.
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