I'm terribly late to the party, having been occupied of late with
burning people at the stake writing my conference paper on representations of the Marian persecutions, but the most recent Carnival of Bad History has called my attention to all sorts of rules for writing historical fiction. As of yet, however, there are no rules for neo-Victorian novels. Never fear! The LP comes to the rescue!
- All middle- and upper-class Victorian wives are Sexually Frustrated, Emotionally Unfulfilled, and possibly Physically Abused. If they're lucky, however, they may find Fulfillment with a) a man not their husband, b) a man not their husband and of the Laboring Classes, c) a man not their husband and of Another Race, or d) a woman not their, er, husband.
- Christians may be Good, as long as they are not evangelicals. Evangelicals, however, are Bad, and frequently Hypocritical.
- All heroes and heroines are True Egalitarians who disregard all differences of Class, Race, and Sex. Heroines, in particular, are given to behaving in Socially Unacceptable Ways, which is always Good.
- All heroes and heroines are Instinctively Admired by members of Oppressed Populations.
- Any outwardly respectable man will a) have frequent recourse to Prostitutes, b) have a Dark Secret, and/or c) be Jack the Ripper.
- There must be at least one Prostitute, who will be an Alcoholic and/or have a Heart of Gold. If the novel is about a prostitute, however, she will have at least one Unusual Talent not related to her line of work.
- All children are subject to frequent Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Abuse. Nevertheless, they will grow up to become Sensitive and Caring Adults.
- Any novel based on an actual Victorian literary work must include considerable quantities of Sex.
- There must be at least one scene set in a Wretched Slum, which will be very Dirty and Damp.
- The novelist must make the prose more Antique by eliminating all Contractions and using Period Slang (whether or not it is actually appropriate).
- Finally, the novel's publicist should use the adjective "Dickensian" at least once.