Friday, March 27, 2015

Is Your Manuscript Contemporary or Historical Fiction?

I was a teenager just the other day, I swear.
I was doing a critique for someone at a conference when I noticed something peculiar about her "contemporary" main character. The main character had no cell phone, did not use social media, did her searches at the library, and had a fondness for Billy Joel.


Unbeknownst to her, this author had written historical fiction, inspired by her own adolescence in the late 1980s.

Okay, I think it's pretty obvious that modern technology needs to be a part of contemporary fiction, but many authors become frustrated when deciding where to draw the line. After all, it can take years from first draft to publication and any contemporary manuscript is at risk of becoming outdated before it hits bookshelves.

And that reality, I think, is the guide line. Contemporary fiction needs to be realistic to within the last few years. Even anything early 2000s would now have to be considered historical, certainly anything before 9/11.

Are you feeling old yet?

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