Thursday, January 27, 2011

Always and Forever...

So I write contemporary young adult romance, right? Well, how many of you have seen a teenager these days who wasn't texting? I'm not sure how many are Facebookin it. Email? Myspace? Doubtful.

My point is, we're all aware of the glacial pace of book publishing and the lightening-fast speed of technology.

With that in mind, I try to avoid new slang in dialogue as much as possible--opting for the established, "cool," "hot," etc., over whatever they're saying on iCarly or Victorious. (I know some of you clever kids make up your own slang...)

But what about technology? 

In the book I'm currently shopping, all the characters have phones that they use both to talk and to text. Otherwise, technology is not in the story. (Actually, now I'm wondering if they should be using iPod Touches like all the kids running around here, but jeez, I don't even want to get that specific.)

I think it works, but I'm curious. What do you guys think? How are you handling this?
* * *
In other news, my friend Matt Rush is helping my other friend (and Super-critter) Carolyn Abiad with her query letter today at The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment (link).

Carolyn has written this amazing adventure story Burnt Amber that's set in Turkey--and in the realm of genies. It's got a strong female MC, a hot male protag., sword fights, spells, alternate realms. It's awesome! And she's a great writer. And a good friend.

Her blog Serendipity (link) is sort of a companion piece to the book, so check it out and start following her. Most of all, please run over to Matt's and help her out! Or at least give her some encouraging kudos.

Finally, THANK YOU to all my bleeps who've recently given me awards. I love you all, but specifically Dezzy (our Hollywood Spy), Angela, Tara, Jeannie, Gideon... oh, and everyone else over there on the right --->

(((BIG hugs))) and have a great weekend, reader friends! Til Monday~ <3 


Jessica Bell said...

I try to avoid technology as much as possible. I have mobile phones. EVen a little facebook. But not much at all. But I write literary and that genre kinda needs to hold up in time, ya know. So it's very hard to know where to draw the line. I hear ya! Of course I will shuffle over to Matt's. Daily daily dose of matt's blog I consume :o)

Old Kitty said...

I only use technology in a very general sense - never specifics or I'd be truly lost!!!

Oooh thanks for the links - I'm off to see Carolyn Abiad's query over at Matt's now!! Yay! Take care

Unknown said...

Psshahaha! Totally made my day.

I think it's best to stay vague. If it takes 1-2 years for a story to be published the kids will be scratching their heads wondering what ancient technology you summoned up.

I can tell you that ever girl I saw at the Miranda Cosgrove concert last night had an iPod touch. That was a little shocking. Maybe I should write in an MP3 player for Angelyn. No?


Matthew MacNish said...

I'm very careful about putting in anything that dates my book. iPods and iPhones and iSuck are all the rage right now, but in ten years? Teens may be laughing at them.

Of course, my book has an excuse, because it's secretly set in the 90s, and because the kids are at reform school in the middle of nowhere, phones aren't allowed, even if they had existed, so I can cheat in a way.

That was one of the things I loved about Harry Potter. It could have been the 70s, the 90s, or even present day.

And thanks for the linkage and the shout out, but today is just for introducing Carolyn. The query crit is going up tomorrow.

DEZMOND said...

oooh, BURNT AMBER sounds super interesting! Although Turkey isn't that exotic to me since my country had been enslaved by Ottoman empire for 500 years back in history.

Candyland said...

I have the same thing-characters who text on their cells. *hoping not to completely date the novel*

Summer Ross said...

Congrats on the awards.

Technology- I haven't really messed with it in any of my writing yet- I wrote a poem about it once- but it turned out to be crap, rhymed well though :)

In books I have read with technology- its mostly just cell phones being available and talking on it. I haven't seen much on texting, but I'm mostly reading 19th century literature right now.

I do think parents are getting bigger on texting too.

Colene Murphy said...

I mention a cellphone in one WiP but it's only for the occasional phone call. Otherwise, I avoid technology too. I mean, IMO it's kind of like mentioning a current band, tv show, movie, etc. It just dates the novel. ANYWAY! Thanks for the links and thought provoking post!

Carolyn Abiad said...

Awww! Thanks for the spot here today! You're the best critter too!((hugs)) :D

I took out a lot of references to technology. And if I left some in I had the excuse of explaining it to djinn in another universe. :)

@ Dezmond...I know, the Ottomans, the Ottomans, the Ottomans...maybe I can help you out...I set Burnt Amber in modern Istanbul and then a neo-Byzantine Djinn Crusader kingdom. No Ottomans! :D

Theresa Milstein said...

While I think it's okay to refer to the technology, I'm not going to be held hostage to it. I don't want to date the book.

Think of reality shows. Those guys never have cellphones or watch TV. Nobody wants to watch people chatting, texting, or staring at a screen. Same with books. Got to be careful not to take away from the action.

LTM said...

I've emailed most of you--Summer, I think historical's a safe bet... I did one of those, too! :D <3

Myne said...

I don't use slang in dialogue, but my latest book was set in two different times and I used technology as one was to make them different.

Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

I use iPhones and Blackberrys in my books. Why not. Its not like I'm doing product placement. I'm just being descriptive and using everyday devices readers can relate too.

Jennie Bailey said...

In my current WIP, she's high in the mountains so she can't get cell service - problem solved! And in my dystopian, technology has been pretty much wiped out so no phones there either. But I think it's fine to use phones for talking and texting with teen characters. We had cell phones twenty years ago and we still have them. Just my two cents worth.

And you deserve each and every award! You have such a lovely blog.

LTM said...

@Stephen--that's probably safe. I was more thinking about dating the material. You know? But dating can be okay in situatons, too. Yes? :o) <3

Michael Di Gesu said...

In my first novel I mention Wii video games and cell phone.

Same in current novel. It's part of our lives. I don't think we have to worry about the cell.

I just had a thought. What's wrong with writing about our times. Even if thing become obsolete, how will the future generations now about our life and times. It's History.


Lisa Galek said...

I struggle with technology because I don't text so it's hard for me to know how kids are talking on text. Sometimes, I go on my niece's FB page and look at her comment and all of them are horribly mispelled.

"lol omgggg ur in my study halll?!?!?!?!"

Like, I can't serious write that in a work of fiction, even though that's how half the messages on her page look. I can only imagine how bad the texts are.

I don't worry about being dated, because trends move slowly and I think readers are forgiving. I tend to include a lot of pop culture references, but I do worry that I'm going to have to end up changing them all or taking them out.

Pop culture is such a part of being a teen, that I think it's hard to leave those big things out all together.

Unknown said...

The question of how much technology should be evident in your story is an excellent one. The rapid way technology one-ups itself, you'll have a dated book only one year after its release. Best bet is to rely less on technology, and what little makes its way into the plot should be as generic as possible.

That's my 2 cents, at least! Happy weekend!!

Talli Roland said...

Since I write commercial fiction that's quite current, I think it's important to mentione stablished technolgoy, like Google or texting, BlackBerry and such. But that's just me!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I try not to be too specific because tech does change so fast, but like you said, sometimes its unavoidable.

Kittie Howard said...

In my LA stories in the Fifties there wasn't much technology...most folks didn't have telephones in that rural area so I'm saved from that decision, so to speak. From a reader's point of view, books with technology tend to date quickly and references bring a chuckle or I toss the book as too difficult to enjoy. Have a great weekend!

Kittie Howard said...

Oops, meant to say, yes, I'd love to share tid bits from that era...and it's really, really interesting that our ancestors have much in common...I sometimes wonder what they'd think by how things are today...keep in touch, Leigh.

Tara said...

Your friend's book sounds awesome!

I handle technology (contemporary romantic suspense) pretty much the same as you. I never mentioned any electonics specifically. At one point the hero says he used her phone not his, but I don't actually use the term cell. I do adult stuff, but I'd stick with the same slang if I did.

For me, it's more of not putting a time stamp on it. If you read my book it could be 80's as easily as 2000's.

Alex Cameron said...

What about a 'textbook'?

He he.

LTM said...

@TGW--Ha! but you make a great point. Kids have been required to have laptops for college for a while. Has that started in HS yet? Or are the iPad-type things replacing those? No textbooks seems the logical next step~ ;p

DL Hammons said...

I don't worry that much about dating my work with technological references. First off, I write mysteries and trying to do that without using technology is next to impossible. Secondly, its the story and characters that matter most! People still read Sherlock Holmes even though ALL of the technology he references is out of date.

RaShelle Workman said...

Hey Leigh - Tech is good to keep at a minimum in contemporary. In my daughters HS, they get a laptop for earning straight A's after an entire semester. Can you believe it? I'd earn straight A's for that!!! Congrats on your awards!!! You're totally awesome. =D

Jan Markley said...

I use lots of technology in my middle grade novels (they've been called Nancy Drew for the ipod generation). I try not to use brand names and focus on the function of the technology (i.e. hand held electronic device, cell phone with email capacity). since the technology changes so fast sometimes I have to update the technology (i.e., I no longer have a reference to a VCR! LOL).

LTM said...

@Jan--that's a great way to handle it! And I remember that about your books--"for the iPod gen." I've got them on my TBR list for my daughters. They sound so great! :o) <3

Natasha said...

I can't bring myself to use chatspeak in real life, but I guess when I have a character who chatspeaks, I will use it.

LTM said...

@Rayna--argh. Privately, I have to confess, I'm not an expert at chatspeak... I probably would have to "research." :D

Oh, and I almost titled this post, "We Met in a Chat Room" ;p xoxo