As for the Kindle, the kids don't get to touch that. Ever. I've had it embedded into my arm so my favorite book is never more than twelve inches away from my face. Kidding. (Or am I?) Combined with Netgalley, my Kindle is the best thing ever. I'm reading Elizabeth George's new release a full week before it's released. *happy squeal* I know!! It's amazing.
Which brings me to my point - and thanks for sticking with me this long. My life is crowded with technical stuff. I spend about four hours on the computer each day, whether I'm writing, doing research, blogging, Facebooking, emailing or looking up the recipe for Eggnog Fudge. My husband, son and I text often - even to the point of, when hubsy's in Belgium, I'm texting him at son's hockey game while hubsy is listening to the game online via the local radio station. o.O
Technology is everywhere. So how much of it should I include in my WiP? (This is definitely a problem Charles Dickens or LM Montgomery didn't face. Unless of course, they had to wrestle with the intriguing problem of electric vs. gas lights and which would fit better in their story.) Tech is changing so fast, it's a pretty sure bet that whatever we include will be dated in say, five years. But for contemporary writers - especially YA writers - leaving it out is a HUGE omission. Like leaving the nose off a character's face.
On the other hand, including too much of it will probably be a bit like watching a movie when a rotary phone rings or a character develops film in darkroom. As a reader, this details pulls me out of the story for a moment, if only to mentally reassess my mental pictures of the characters' appearances, surroundings and mindsets. I do this going into reading a classic novel but for contemporary fiction, this can be a jarring transition.
As authors, we not only have to create our world, we have to determine which parts of the real world are likely to be around long enough to become standard. Like cell phones. I think all of us can agree that, barring a nuclear catastrophe or an asteroid hit, cell phones are here to stay. As are personal computers. But what about the process of 'renting' a movie? Amazon already streams them, as does Netflix, which means the slow death of external rental places (perhaps including RedBox). And the terminology may change as well to simply 'streaming' a movie. Why is this important, you ask? Well, for contemporary YA authors, how often do teens watch movies on the weekends? Yeah, a lot. This is a tiny detail but nevertheless, the kind of detail that can date your story. I'm sure you can come up with other, better examples.
The fact is, we have no idea what's coming tech-wise in the next five years. I just read that a dude in Japan invented the first touchable hologram...so imagine what gaming could be like in the next decade. People who own iPhone 4S can already talk to it...so imagine the way voice interface will affect keyboards. (Imagine not having to type!) The Ford Focus can parallel park itself...so imagine an auto-drive feature. And forget paper maps or phone books. Anyone with a GPS or a computer no longer needs to read them. This kind of speculation is a playground for dystopian authors but contemporary authors are stuck with what IS.
So how do you handle technology in your story? How do you write a good dose of reality without shortchanging the future?
|at least, not right now...|