Saturday, April 16, 2011
N: Not the News
Almost everything else in the movie fits fine into the modern world, even the clothing style. The health club scene, the coffee shop and the plot device of big package store bankrupting the little family-owned business works in a nearly timeless fashion. But...that one little technology thing.
I don't write contemporary but I read lots of contemporary suspense and mysteries. I think all writers hope their books live forever and authors of contemporaries must be careful how they weave scenery and objects into their story so they don't date it. Even books written a few years ago are behind on the capabilities of cell phones without even considering advances like iPads.
On the other hand, if your characters are as clever and engaging as Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, maybe it won't matter if the rest of your world is ten or fifteen years out of date. If you use a news event as a background event or perhaps even the inciting incident in your novel, you will put a block in the way of your story not being as timeless as you'd hoped. Unless it hangs around long enough to become a historical rather than contemporary tale.
Have you read a novel recently where you found the technology outdated? If you write contemporary how do you handle the difficulty of keeping it real but designing to still be relevant in a few years?