Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Things Change

By C. LaRene Hall

Last week I began edits on a story that has been finished for the biggest part of a year. The problem that I’m running into is things have changed. Maybe when you are writing for adults it’s not as big a problem as when you are writing for the MG or YA market. Slang expressions are different, so that changes the dialogue. Styles of clothing aren’t the same now as they were in the past.

The biggest question I have is – what do you do? I can’t think of anything except re-write, but when I’ve done that, it will have changed again. It sounds like a vicious circle to me. Maybe I’m supposed to have answers for you reading this, but guess what? I’m as baffled as you are. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Usually, I’m okay, but not always. Since I’m writing most of my story in a different century, I can get away with a lot. If these two kids weren’t modern day children, I wouldn’t have such a problem. I guess the biggest problem I see is – it takes so long to get your story accepted that by that time, too many things have changed. Do the rest of you continually need to update your stories? Or, am I the only one in this boat?


Keith Fisher said...

All the time. I wrote a story in 1994 and I looked at it recentlky to determine what I'd need to do to get it published. I was amazed at how dated I'd made it.

Heather Justesen said...

Sometimes you have to try and keep the book from being too dated. Some expressions hang around for years, some of the less faddish clothing styles stretch for several years--even decades. Just don't use anything too old. I had someone tell me to take out the VCR in one story and turn it into a game machine.

But yes, times change so fast, and the road to publication can take ages, so it can be hard to keep up. What's cool and exciting now may not even be available in a couple of years when the book hits the shelf.