Murder and Sweet Tea discussion

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For Readers > Don't know much about history…

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message 1: by Lucy (new)

Lucy | 23 comments Mod
How much historical accuracy is enough for a novel set in the past? At what point does a reader say "You've got to be kidding" and put the book down forever.

I ask because that's what I'm writing right now, and also because I'm reading an indie novel that has just about maxed out my tolerance for anachronism.

The story is set in the post-war 1940s. Here are some of the time jolts:

1. The two main characters are in a hospital cafeteria and they take a plastic tray to put their plates on. I don't know for sure that plastic trays would NOT be there in that era, but I have enough doubt about it that it pulled me out of the story.

2. A radio news announcer was said to have come to the U.S. to "study journalism." Maybe just because I have studied journalism, I know that the term "journalism" was not much in use until much later. And nobody studied it. News(wo)men started at the bottom rung of a newspaper, learned the business and moved up. Mostly without benefit of college education of any sort.

3. A nursing student, evaluating the healthfulness of a diner's offerings, said she had learned about the food pyramid. Good grief! A simple check of Wikipedia shows that the earliest food pyramid was published in 1974 in Sweden. And these characters are not Swedish. The USDA's food pyramid came out in 1992.

Would any of these examples bother anyone else?


message 2: by Kelly (new)

Kelly | 20 comments Mod
I just found out I am guilty of this myself! One of the people who just started reading my new book, Good People, told me he could tell right away that it was set in the '80s because they were flying on a DC-10 and they stopped producing DC-10's in 1989.

Unfortunately, it is set in present day and that was a total mistake on my part. :(

I'm so glad he pointed it out to me though, because now I can change it (one more perk of self-publishing!) in the Kindle edition and in my final Createspace proof.


message 3: by Lucy (new)

Lucy | 23 comments Mod
Wow. Those are the things that will bite us for sure! It makes you a little paranoid about mentioning anything specific.


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