Book Beat Babes

Book Beat Babes

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dating Your Book

Depending on which time period you wish to convey, think twice about what to include in your book.
If you're going with contemporary, do you want to sprinkle in giveaways of when the book happens, or be vague? That may depend on whether you're looking for quick sales and/or longevity. Still, you don't want to seem too unaware of what's going on.

Writing about the here and now can be problematical, if your book is available for a while, such as my backlist mystery, Two Wrongs, which debuted in 2006, yet can still be found online. Fortunately, cell phones had been in use then, and I didn't go into many details about other habits which have changed.

Here are some contemporary habits you might consider including in a book:

  1. Texting and e-mailing - Choose to include or  explain why your character doesn't use them.
  2. Phone calls  - Even calling someone requires explanation. Almost everyone has a cell phone these days. Many don't have landlines. Make a choice what your character picks up to make or answer a call.
  3. Using the mail - Hardly anyone writes letters now. Most bills can also be paid online. However, many people still like to pay bills the old fashioned way, or mail birthday and other special occasion cards. Yes, some use online services to send greetings, but in my experience, I don't get many.
  4. Google or other search engines - Finding the answer to almost anything can now be found by a search on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Your character would have to live under a rock not to know that, or be someone who abhors technology.
  5. Clothes - It's the style for women not to wear nylons, though some still like to hide flab or veins by wearing them, or feel more dressed up with them on. Guys don't wear ties as often. They hardly ever wear suits, even to work, unless they're attorneys or other professionals who appear in court or in public venues, where such appearance is expected. Sports coats or just nice shirts are acceptable for dressing up. You can find jean wearers in church or in the nicest restaurants these days.
  6. Social media - Even seniors are active online.. You may want to incorporate a Facebook or Twitter experience in the book, or mention something about looking for a job on LinkedIn.
  7. Speech - One example: The word, Hi is often replaced by Hey.
Of course, all of the habits I've mentioned depends on your characters. If they're old-fashioned, they'll stick to their own habits and ignore what others do, or they could be unaware of what's going on around them.

Can you think of other examples, either from the here and now, or other time periods?

Find all of Morgan Mandel's romances and mysteries at:

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