Dating Game

Dating Myself:

For some reason, Colorforms popped into my head the other day. Do you remember Colorforms?

This is not my photo, but I did have this set!
I had several sets. Because I loved them.

I remember playing for hours with my Colorforms. Creating scenes, making up stories, moving them around, and replacing the pieces in their proper homes.
I see my bbs with the handheld devices, tablets, cell phones, etc and I think, “back in my day…” It’s okay, though, I can say that. I’m a gramma now.
But it sure does date me.

Dating Your Work:

Writing is hard. They’re are so many pieces to put together, but most importantly, you need to make sure they all fit in their proper homes. Being aware of time and place is integral to telling a good story.

My first novel, Pocket Money, takes place in May of 1992. I did a ton of research to get the era right. It helps that I lived through it (dating myself, again, lol), but I wanted readers to feel immersed in the culture of the time because that’s what makes a story feel real to me.

I’m currently working on book two of The Pandoran Legacy Series, the follow up to A Stranger’s Child. It’s a contemporary novel. Writing takes (me) so long and things change so quickly, it’s hard to lock down the details. The timeline of Pocket Money has passed. It’s now static. It is comfortably “dated”.

I worry about dating my work through social and pop culture references because I know as a reader, things that are wrong or inconsistent throw me out of the story.

I’m currently reading a book that takes place in the year 2030. Close enough to now but with sci-fi imaginings. Seems safe enough, right? But then…the main character references her nylons. NYLONS?! WTH? Women rarely wear nylons NOW, in 2019, I can’t imagine they will be wearing them in 2030! Why not call them stockings? That could be tights, socks, or nylons, for that matter. Maybe word is choice is the issue here, but all I know is that I paused in my reading to have a fit in response to this scene. It’s never good when a reader stops reading.

They use glass technology for the phones in this book, but women still wear nylons.
I guess it would be worse had the author used the word ‘pantyhose’. Ew.

This book was written in 2015!
But maybe…it was started much earlier…
Which is just one more thing to consider when going through old, dated, manuscripts.

*sigh* Writing is hard.

About Mary Fran Says

I am an artist, crafter, designer and writer. I enjoy working with mixed media-- applying visual and tactile manipulations to telling a story. Not a lot of market for that, though, :), so I'm focusing on short story submissions and novel completions. Yes, plural. Lots of beginnings, too many ideas, not enough focus.
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