Monday, March 21, 2011

Keeping the Fantasy Real, Part II

You’ll recall only a post or two ago I ranted a bit about “keeping the fantasy real,” advocating not using things like eBay, rifles in a sword-and-sorcery story (except for “Wizards,” in which technology played a central and comic role in the story). You’ll also recall me saying I’m sure I do some of the things I abhor, and that my writing would need correction.

Oh yeah. Found a great example.

Slouching Toward Bensonville, a novel I started waaaaaay back in the mid-2000s. So far back, in fact, one of my characters, to publicize a bit of social action/protest used MySpace, of all things, to advertize it. I even included a real MySpace URL. It’s probably still out there, neglected, unused, waiting for me to make use of it as part of the novel’s viral marketing campaign.

Of course, when I wrote the thing viral marketing was a mere nascent concept and MySpace was the place to be. Now viral marketing is ubiquitous and MySpace is going the way of the dodo.

So a good example of why we ought to be cautious using this kind of stuff in our novels, especially if you’re as slow writing as I am: By the time you’re don, what was with it isn’t with it any more because they changed what it was and now what you’re with isn’t it and what’s it seems new and scary. It’ll happen to you, whether you’ve got an onion tied to your belt or not.

This is one of the reasons that I step back and look at the ideas – not necessarily the things – when I’m writing to ensure that the ideas that started me on the path are still the ideas that are guiding me to my end destination. I may use “things” along the way as they come into the story, but I try not to make things central to the story, lest technology pass me along the way.

In reading what I’ve got of Slouching Toward Bensonville, I can see other areas where the things I’ve got are either not fully developed or entering the realm where technology is going to pass them by.

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