So apparently despite my best efforts not to, I am writing this story. I hit 5000 words last night and while I know several people who can knock out that many words in a day (assholes), that is a lot for me, especially considering that my goal is 25,000-30,000 words total.
The thing is that it’s hard to write a contemporary novel about someone much younger than me (my main character is 11 years old) because the times, they have changed. Some things, like kids having cell phones, I think will be easy to work with. If weird because IN MY DAY WE USED PAYPHONES. AND WE LIKED IT. But there are other things, little details that probably shouldn’t matter so much, that are totally tripping me up.
Such as: what is the Scholastic book fair like now? I remember reading something about how it is all video games and tie-in products and very few actual books. Of course, the Scholastic website makes it look like it is all books! Educational books! And what is the actual fair like? Never mind what it’s like now, I don’t even remember if 20 years ago we pre-ordered our books or if we just circled what we liked in the catalog and then bought them day-of. No clue!
And what about the Internet? I can deal with it for the most part the way I’m dealing with cell phones, but I am clueless what an 11-year-old would even do online. It’s a little old for Webkinz and Club Penguin, I think, but that depends on the kid, but anyway I am not going to advertise any of those sites in my story. Do kids that age use Facebook? Have blogs? I NEED TO KNOW.
And here’s one that should not be tripping me up so badly but totally is: television. Where I lived when I was 11, we could not get cable. Our house was on a mountain and there was no signal. (We also could not get the newspaper delivered, but that did not stop them from trying to get us to subscribe.) Now that everything has gone digital, can you get cable anywhere? Oh, and what about internet? Would my MC, who also lives on a mountain, be stuck with dial-up or is that going to seem unbelievable to contemporary readers?
Most things are, I think, pretty universal to the pre-teen experience, even if they are calling it tween now. These details don’t really matter. Except that they do because I need to understand her world, and these are the things that have come up.