Monday, November 1, 2010

Technology and Writing

1288372371589I heard from a few folks regarding the fact that there wasn’t a post from me on Saturday. Which is nice because y’all know I always post, every day…unless I say I’m not going to. It’s really great to be missed!

But I was planning on posting on Saturday (I'd already loaded the blog post for yesterday, but Saturday's I was planning to upload on Friday evening.) Our family went to the mountains, though, for the weekend. It was gorgeous up there at the cabin—but it wasn’t on WiFi. And we had to have actual directions from the owner of the house because the location wasn’t on GPS.

Yes, I started having heebie-jeebies because I’m apparently an internet addict. My smart phone had an intermittent connection, but not for very long.

I was a big girl and dealt with it. I ended up playing lots of ping pong and air hockey (poorly) with my husband and kids, sitting by a roaring fire, watching the night sky with a telescope, and hiking. We had a really fun, unplugged time.

It’s funny, though, how easy it is to forget that you’re not wired. We were heading to South Mountain State Park with our corgi and I said, “Hey, let me check real quick and make sure dogs are allowed.” Of course, I went right to my computer—which wasn’t online.

Back at home last night for trick or treating, my husband and I were watching the zombie movie Dawn of the Dead. There’s a moment where they’re at the mall and the cop in the movie communicates with another non-zombie on the roof…with white boards.

It bothered me. Wouldn’t you maybe exchange cell phone numbers on the white board and then call or text each other? I know the cell phones go dead after a while, but still. Where were all the cell phones?

It bothered me enough to look up when the movie came out—2004 was the release date. We were definitely all texting and cell phone addicted six years ago. I could see a movie set in the 90s not using cells…but the lack of mobiles in the film really bugged me.

I do use technology to a certain degree in my books, but I’ve been very reluctant to do it. I felt like social media was still possibly on the trendy side when Pretty is as Pretty Dies came out, but it’s going to be mentioned in Finger Lickin’ Dead—briefly. Facebook has a slightly more significant role in Memphis book 3 since I’ve decided that Facebook seems like a pretty solid format.

I’ve always been really conscious about dating my books. That’s because they’re at libraries and I don’t want someone to pick them up in a few years and roll their eyes over the reference to something that no longer exists (VCRs, etc.) that will date the book.

But now I’m starting to get concerned the other way, too. Won’t it date my books more if technology is ignored completely? Hasn’t it become such an integral part of our lives that it needs a mention—even in a vague way? So maybe I won’t refer to an iphone (the trendiness factor), but I’ll definitely refer to a cell phone (generic mention).

If I can go to the top of a mountain and assume, without even thinking about it, that I can get state park information on my laptop or smart phone…then technology has really integrated into everything I do.

I’m going to try to reach a balance where the technology in my books is also integrated—where it doesn’t stand out for being outdated and where it doesn’t stand out in its absence.

How do you approach technological references in your books?

And please join me tomorrow when Stephen Tremp will be joining me with a post on “Food, Wine, and Drink.” Hope you’ll pop by. :)