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Writing to a specific audience

Posted: August 26th, 2019, 12:07 pm
by Roger

I'm 2500 words into fantasy novelette set in the middle ages. My editor/critic, who doubles as my wife, isn't a fan of the genre and had issues with the vocabulary. The use of archaic measurements like, span, league and furlong threw her off; toss in middle age weaponry and her head exploded. When writing in a genre or sub genre, should you write to specific readers comfortable with outdated terms or target a broader audience? For example, miles and yards are appropriate substitutions and might not bogged down readers.


Re: Writing to a specific audience

Posted: October 9th, 2019, 4:11 pm
by PeterTaylor
Historical is hard because reader enthusiasts for the period of the setting expect 100% accuracy. They know e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g and will delight in telling the world what you have wrong in a review that will be rated poorly.

Perhaps this is part of the reason why I'm loath to start my Regency/Victorian story set in the UK, though I've done heaps of research.

I'd go with spans and leagues, especially in dialogue.

Good luck!

Re: Writing to a specific audience

Posted: October 21st, 2019, 2:37 am
by Shilden_T72
Yeah, it's better to go for something as accurate as possible.
Experts of the era/genre will appreciate the research, and people with limited knowledge of it will find that it looks cool. Just make sure to add a footnote or something at the beginning of the story to make sure that the latter will know how much a league or furlong is!

Re: Writing to a specific audience

Posted: October 21st, 2019, 12:23 pm
by aliskatka4enko
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Re: Writing to a specific audience

Posted: October 24th, 2019, 10:21 pm
by victoriawilloughby

Re: Writing to a specific audience

Posted: October 28th, 2019, 8:08 pm
by Roger
I appreciate the input Peter and Shilden. There is some difference between writing straight historical fiction and fantasy, I think. With Peter's project, accuracy is important otherwise he might get criticism if words or technology creep in from the late 19th or 20th century. With a fantasy set in a time parallel to historical eras the writer might have a little more leeway.