Another Writing Rule by Christine Duncan

My husband and I are S/F junkies but we’re of the broke variety. We don’t have cable or any variety thereof. But we do have netflicks so we are catching up with some old series. One we’ve been watching lately is Dark Angel. Now don’t get me wrong. I like the story lines and I will continue to watch. But the dialog annoys me because of the use of what was probably very current slang when the show came out. (Did people ever really say dealio? Where was I when that was going on?)

Although I’m quick to throw out writing rules, one rule that makes some sense is the one about not using current slang. The reason it makes sense is the very reason I have a problem with this show. It tends to date things.

The hard part about writing books sometimes is that things change so quickly. It’s very hard now to read a book where the heroine is being threatened by the bad guy ala perils of Pauline without thinking, where is that girl’s cell? If the author doesn’t account for it somehow, I tend to toss the book.

I remember being so impressed by one writer who had a background noise of a news report about the trouble in the Middle East. I mean there is always trouble in the Middle East, right? But now the character would probably read the news story on their iPhone not hear about it.

There are so many ways that the world is going to change. Why go out of your way to make your book look dated?


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