Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dated Books and Film



Yesterday's post took one of those bends in the road and got me to thinking about what dates books and movies. It's a problem I'm having right now with my work in progress. My characters have cell phones. They don't play a huge role, but difficulty in communicating does.

I don't have an iPhone, Blackberry, or anything of that nature myself, and I'm not sure exactly what these devices are capable of - except they seem to be capable of everything except molecular transport. I thought my wip was set in modern times, as in right now, but now I'm wondering. Do I need to begin with stating the date: 1990 or something of that sort? Seems like a cop out.

With technology moving so quickly now, things seem to be outdated the minute they're on the market. You can't wait for the technology to slow down so we mere mortals can catch up. So you write. When the book is finished and published, it's going to be dated.

Questions du Jour: Is that a bad thing? To have your work dated? If so, what's the solution?

14 comments:

  1. Jen says thanks for commenting on her Halloween drawings!!

    As for your above question, I think I would just put the date, 1990. My memoir starts in 1961 and ends in 1996. So I do have to let the reader know what decade I'm in! And today's world DOES move/change so fast, by the time the book's published, who knows--cell phones might be a thing of the past (though I rather doubt this).
    Ann

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  2. thanks Ann, that's the way I'm leaning. It is nice to have a frame of reference to begin a book.

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  3. I'm with Ann - I think it's good to have a solid date there, to se the framework. I hear you on the technology thing... it's a tough call. My characters have BlackBerries, but I wonder how much this will date my book.

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  4. Maybe dating isn't such a bad word, after all.

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  5. Guess that's why I like writing science fiction (not based around Terra Earth) and fantasy.
    Find any teenager and he will enlighten you on all new technology!

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  6. Technology moves fast--just look at all the new networking/social media out there and it's a bit overwhelming! I would go by Ann's suggestion of dating the book, just so the reader will understand more fully the reason for the technology involved.

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  7. Sharp and eagle-eyed as always!

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  8. Good question. Technology is moving so fast there's no way to keep up as we write a novel that won't make it into print for two years or more. Even with the cell phone you need to research new GPS capabilities, learn whether GPS works when the phone is turned off, etc. Makes me want to write historical novels instead.

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  9. I think it depends when a book comes out if you plan on using what's current and what's not. The first push is at the beginning, though there might be trickle sales later, at least that how it works for me.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

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  10. Oh dear, trickle sales. Sounds like quatro triticalle, or whatever that grain the tribbles ate on Star Trek. I am definitely caught in a time warp.

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  11. This is a really good point. Sneaking in the date is probably a good idea for techies.

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  12. This is something I hadn't thought about...until I read a book written in the 80s. The technology (or lack there of) was distracting. It's not something you can fix though. I don't think you need to state a date...people will get that feeling anyway from whatever tech you include. Luckily I write fantasy ;)

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  13. I think both have merits. Dated to remind us. No date allows our imagination to roam free.

    My Darcy Mutates

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