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18 December 2012 @ 09:32 pm
"The best adventures all begin with legends that no one believes"  
I've been editing my middle grade mystery/adventure story, Tiernay West, Professional Adventurer (formerly published as Secret of the Three Treasures) for re-release in an ebook edition.

The book came out almost seven years ago, and it's fascinating to see how much has changed ... and how this leads one to have to make certain editorial decisions.

My protagonist's mother's boyfriend's son (aka Kevin) has a desktop computer, to start with, which might not be true now--a laptop or tablet seem more likely. I let that go. As a gamer, maybe Kevin was able to afford more processing power on a desktop, or maybe his dad didn't want him dragging his computer around everywhere he went.

But then I came to a sentence where Kevin is playing games on a "handheld computer" at school. That'd definitely be a phone, now. I almost changed it to one ... only of course, if I give Kevin a cell phone, the whole rest of the story changes, because the plotting of a mystery with a cell phone is different from plotting a mystery without one. That level of editing would shift the book from a re-release to an alternate edition.

So I've decided that the book simply takes place at the time when it was published, and that any historical artifacts reflect that. Since the story is set in our own world (albeit with protagonist Tiernay West's unique adventuring take on same), this makes sense to me, though for a different book I might have decided differently, because how firmly a book is grounded in its time varies.

Since time has passed since the events of Tiernay West, Professional Adventurer though, this does mean that in our own time, Tiernay is now applying to colleges and making her way out into the world to become an adventurer for real.

This is a frightening and wonderful thought. :-)

(Crossposted from Wordpress manually because lj is having difficulties today)
Patrick Samphirepsamphire on December 19th, 2012 02:19 pm (UTC)
I had exactly the same issue rewriting a novel from about the same period. My protagonist had this wonderful handheld computer which could do all sorts of whizzy things. Except now she would have a phone that would do twice as much without anyone blinking.

Since then I've been careful to set everything in the past, where technology doesn't date me quite so quickly...
Janni Lee Simner: secret of the three treasures coverjanni on December 28th, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
I do try to cultivate a certain ... vagueness about time. Can't escape Internet and cell phones for more contemporary stuff, but I don't have to be too specific about browsers and phone models.

I do remember reading a novel a couple decades ago where the whole plot would have changed if only the protagonist ... hadn't needed to look for a pay phone (where the baddies of course attacked her once she left her car). Probably was still realistic that she didn't have a cell when the book was written, but by the time it came out ... felt like something of cautionary tale, that.

But sometimes, we just can't help the datedness for all our good efforts.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on December 19th, 2012 03:24 pm (UTC)
I think this is a cool thought--you could build in another hint or two of the time. If this book becomes as popular as it deserves to be, then you could be free to jump ahead a few years, and relate her adventures as a thirteen year old, or even as a teen.
Janni Lee Simner: secret of the three treasures coverjanni on December 28th, 2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
I sometimes wonder about Tiernay as a high schooler ... oddly, I keep thinking that in middle school, she probably sort of goes into hiding, than re-emerges as her true adventurer self, only altered by age and experience, in high school.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on December 28th, 2012 11:06 pm (UTC)
Totally makes sense.
mmegaerammegaera on December 20th, 2012 12:45 am (UTC)
Your subject title is so, so true...

Is that a quote, and if so, from who/where?


Edited at 2012-12-20 12:45 am (UTC)
Janni Lee Simner: secret of the three treasures coverjanni on December 28th, 2012 11:06 pm (UTC)
Heh. The quote is actually from Secret of the Three Treasures.

Only it may be "always" instead of "all." Need to double-check ...
mmegaerammegaera on December 30th, 2012 12:12 am (UTC)