aamcnamara: (Default)
[personal profile] aamcnamara
So I'm (re?)writing a short story. It started life as a first chapter written for my YA GLBTQ lit class last J-term; now I'm going back in, realizing it doesn't need to be a whole novel, and overhauling it into short-story form. (Longish short story, but still.)

(This may also have something to do with it--but hey, why not, and I've been meaning to do something with this idea, anyway.)

What's weird about this story is, okay, first off that it has no SF/F-y elements, but secondly and more importantly that it's set right here right now today. I have a bunch of early-teen characters, and all of them are at least vaguely geeky. All of them have accounts at a bunch of different websites: various blogs, Tumblr, Twitter. I'm having to get the cultural references right--research included currently-popular fandoms at fanfiction.net. I have to do the research, but this is really familiar ground for me. I know where to look, even if I don't know the particular details when I'm starting out.

Which is a complete change from a lot of my other stories which try to steer clear of particular here-now references, maybe a cell phone or two but largely that quote-unquote timeless stuff, things that won't change too much over the next few years or maybe in the next decade. It's weird to see how the story comes out, what changes and what stays the same.

...I don't know. Is making specific references a good or bad thing? Does it date a work, or enhance it? If I get one little bit wrong, will it throw people completely out of the story--more than if I just left it vague? Possibly there are no good answers.

(Either way, I think maybe I will try to keep some of this specificity when I slide back into genre, even if it's not what social networking sites my characters frequent. What people do on the Internet, at least in my corner of it, is something I know a lot about, so maybe I should make that level of know-how and detail my baseline for everything else.)

Date: 2011-01-30 02:55 am (UTC)
aquaeri: My nose is being washed by my cat (Default)
From: [personal profile] aquaeri
In my very humble opinion, you can't avoid making specific references that will one day date your work. Because you just don't know how things will change in the future. As long as the references are comprehensible to people outside the specific subculture right now (or not, if you only want insiders to read it), that's the best you can do.

Apart from that, specific references can be the "telling details" that brings your writing to life.

May 2017


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