This week I was editing one of the last chapters in a mystery novel I started writing about four years ago. This is the ninth draft of the second book in a new series. Book one is currently being considered by a publisher and book three has gone through four drafts. As I began my morning edits a couple of days ago, a terrible realization hit me. I haven’t even finished this draft and it’s already out of date.
You see, in the chapter I was working on, my protagonist, Casey, is driving down a major thoroughfare and has good reason to believe she’s being followed. She’d already placed a call on her cellular to the RCMP corporal who’s been handling a murder investigation. So when he calls her back she picks up her cell while driving and tells him what’s going on. That’s when it hit me. Our provincial government changed the laws at the beginning of 2010, making it illegal to drive and talk on a cell unless one’s hands are free.
This scene made me wonder how many times I had her talking on her cellular while behind the wheel. I did a search and discovered none, however, the situation is totally different for book three, so Casey will have to wear a headset while driving. It’s a small detail, but an important one. And this is what sometimes drives me crazy about fiction.
It takes a long time to write and edit a book, and a long time to get it published, so when it finally hits the bookstore, locales, laws, and technology might have changed to the point where your book is already dated. Writing contemporary fiction means constantly keeping up with change, something that historical fiction writers don’t have to contend with, although they have their own challenges.
Once your book is published, there’s not much you can do. But as long as you’re still editing, the onus falls on you to stay on top of the many changes real life throws at fiction writers because readers do want us to get it right, and who can blame them?
FATAL ENCRYPTION can be purchased at http://tinyurl.com/ddzsxl
TAXED TO DEATH can be purchased at http://tinyurl.com/czsy5n