Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Signs of the the Time

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

Signs of the Time

During some recent revisions, I realized  my main character was constantly opening and closing his phone. 

His phone also rang several times and after speaking to the caller he would hang up.
I reached out to the "twitter-verse" for a phrase to replace rang. Virtually no phones ring any more. They vibrate, signal, chime, do the Macarena (shout out to my crit partner, Teri Anne Stanley).
I started wondering and, honestly, feeling overwhelmed as often happens in the trenches of revision.

How do we keep our manuscripts current without dating them?

I especially feel for YA authors. When I look back at some of my early attempts at YA (written when I was a YA:) ), my characters are passing notes in class and talking on the phone for hours. Today, they would be texting under their desks and chatting on Facebook.

So, tell me your story? What have you come across in your revisions that dated the story? How do you making sure it is current without appearing to be trying too hard?

What if you mention Facebook today, get a book deal tomorrow and a year from now when your book hits the shelves, some new and improved social network site has sent Facebook the way of Myspace? 

Does it bother you to read a "contemporary" novel and find out-dated references to technology or phrases? 



Genevieve Wilson said...

I think phones just "go off" in my manuscript. Also, if I'm using a brand of something, I use something classic like "Levi" or "Ford." My WIP had a father calling out to his teenage daughter who's upstairs, but then I realized he would just text her. Cause that's what I do with my own son.

Jessica A. Briones said...

Things have changed, kids have gone from passing notes in class to texting. I don't text, I can barely use a cell phone and when I write, my characters are still passing notes in class because that's what I did.

T.M. Lunsford said...

It bothers me to read recently pubbed contemps with out of date references in every day life, but I appreciate the references in older contemporaries because, similar to historicals, it reminds me that it isn't happening RIGHT now.

Unknown said...

This is hard for me because my YA takes place in the future (not time travel), but I'm sure even my imagination will not really reflect where technology will be then. Look back at Star Trek ect, even they look dated with what we thought would be impossible in the future.

The best part is, since none of my technology exists, I can't get it wrong. :-)

Dawn Alexander said...

Thanks for all the great responses! I have been reading a book and stopped to look at the copyright date because something pulled me out of the story and I wanted to see when it was written.