Monday, October 5, 2009

Modern . . . Dating of a Book

I almost just titled this "dating," then thought, "Everyone will think I mean going out on a date." Which may be more interesting, but alas. Not my thoughts. =)

Something we writers have to consider when we write is dating our manuscript with reference to popular things that may not be so popular in another few years. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the things I wrote about in college contained references to Napster, for instance--which would now be a big stamp on it that might as well read "Outdated!"

I'm thinking about this because of how prevalent a part of our lives some of these popular things are, and because I just read a totally awesome book (will talk about it tomorrow) that throws around these things like my family does their socks. Everywhere! But unlike the socks, these references really worked for me with the story.

Still, I always wonder in my own stuff. I have this fear of mentioning something that ceases to exist. I've already run into it in a few things. For instance, in a book I wrote in '04, I mention the real estate market in which a house sells in three days. Doesn't happen anymore. My main character gets her first cell phone in the story--yes she's a holdout, but seriously. Five years ago I knew people who didn't have cells. Now I don't. Everyone I know over 10 has a cell phone. Everyone. (So I just took that part out of the book altogether and give her one from the start, LOL.)

We have decisions to make about this, I guess, and you'll get as many opinions as people you ask. For my part, I try to cement my story into a contemporary time with mention of the things probably here to stay, and steer clear of anything too year-specific. I want stories that are rooted but timeless. So that, you know, when I'm someday selling so many books that they go into reprint after reprint for a decade, no one's left curling up their lip at how out of touch I am with modern life;-)


  1. Just caught up on reading your blog. Loved the ones where you write about the authors. Also loved the ones where you write about your writing.
    Shoot, I loved it all. :)

  2. LOL, Carole! Have I ever told you how sweet you are??