First… I’ve been so busy this week I didn’t even have time to comment on the Dancing with the Stars finale, which was okay, but not exceptional. I’m happy Helio and Julianne won, though I was kind of pulling for Mel and Maks. They were actually my favorites.
However… it’s done, and now what shall I watch Monday and Tuesday evening?
Photo Credit: Helmut Gevert
Anyway, on to the lovers’ spat brewing in romancelandia between the readers and the writers. I’ve mentioned it before, the great Champagne Flute Debate of 2007, concerning historical accuracy and readers’ expectations. But it has spread, and is referenced here, and here, and here.
Have you ever had one of those all night quarrels with a lover, the kind that winds on forever, until you’re both so tired you can’t think, as dawn breaks through curtains? In the end you’re not even arguing about what you were arguing about? Well, that’s what has happened here. Now it’s all about how mean romance readers are, how touchy and lazy authors are, and how one author has flounced off to play in her own sandbox once too often.
My points, and I’ve made them before, are these:
- Writers make mistakes
- It doesn’t mean we’re lazy, and it doesn’t mean we didn’t do the research
- There is a difference between minor goofs and huge wallbangers.
- Mentioning a champagne flute or a cosmetic brush is one of the former
- A mistake in the date of the Battle of Trafalgar, or having e-mail in 1970 are the latter
However, the points about romance readers are:
- They have a right to criticize anything they want
- Because they point out historical inaccuracies, doesn’t mean they are any less of romance fans
- If an author wanders into the argument, he/she had better be prepared to duck, or they shouldn’t be there in the first place
I think this quarrel is very much a lover’s spat. Romance authors love love love their readers, and are hurt by the implication that we’d give them anything but our best. Romance readers love love love authors, and are disappointed to hear an author say they just didn’t want to look something up to make it accurate.
But like the lover’s spat, everyone just needs to calm themselves, take a deep breath so we can look each other in the eye over the coffee urn the next morning. Shall we kiss and make up?