Monday, June 11, 2007

Dating Stories

It seems like now is a poor time to be writing. It's perhaps harder than ever to write a story set in the present without including something that will quickly leave the story feeling dated. Technology of different stripes can be ignored certainly but more of them are becoming ubiquitous and should be involved. A good example is the cell phone. Cell phones can vastly change the playing field of a story. It's something of a downer to see every story involve there being no cell phone coverage. It's a cheap cop out to trying to craft a story where being able to immediately reach someone, even help, can still leave the characters with their conundrums.

The first of the Poltergeist movies was such a story that defies being changed if the time setting of the story were to be updated. The Freeling family was surrounded by neighbours, able to call upon the best people to try and help, and still the horror would not relent and the mood could not be dampened. The writers didn't need secluded woods, downed phone lines, or any kind of physical isolation. Yet isolation engulfed the movie's family just as fully as the haunting frightened them.

Phone calls aside there are other ways that the ever changing and evolving technological landscape will affect modern, current, fiction. Does the character have a CD player or an MP3 player, or is it in his phone? Is the character watching a DVD or a HD DVD or a Blu-Ray disc when the terrible event happens? Is the secret knowledge hidden in a book, or on a website, or stashed on a USB drive? Encoded on a blog? Did the stalker find his victim on MySpace or Facebook? Did he stick a GPS tracker to her car? Keystroke logger? Does the cell phone bearing crowd witnessing an accident have camera stills of it or streaming video? The options are there, and changing too fast or not they should be put to best use.

Mood: down.
Music: Vicious Circle by Quiet Riot and Poison Apples by Motley Crue.

Quiet Riot: Guilty Pleasures
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Motley Crue: Motley Crue

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