Friday, September 21, 2012

Anachronisms: Sorting out technology in fiction

As I close in on publication of my first novel, I sent it to a trusted friend for a final proofreading. She found a few things but even more importantly, she brought up the issue of technology and a time-setting for the book.  I wrote this book in 2008-2009 about three people in their late 30s/early 40s. It was set in 2006 and includes the technology I myself was using then, not necessarily the technology others might be using.

In the book, I have the following:

  • Characters using email
  • Characters using answering machines
  • Characters using cell phones and land lines
  • Characters passing along information on a slip of paper (a phone number) [instead of telling someone to look it up on the web]
  • Characters looking up information on the web
  • Characters leaving each other notes on a door or a car
  • Characters writing love letters to each other through snail mail
  • No characters are texting
  • An artist sending images on a CD to a gallery
  • Same artist has a web site
  • Main character has a CD collection
Jan argued that I need to rethink all of these things or set the time back 8-10 years. It poses an interesting dilemma. Which of these are anachronisms? Which of these are characters' idiosyncracies? (I know both young and older people who collect vinyl records). So I will go in and look at all these places.

Something to consider as we write. 

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