The other day a welcome connection from the past reached out to me via Facebook — prolific author Elaine Raco Chase.
We met years ago when I was active in the national organization Sisters in Crime and I started the Los Angeles chapter of the organization.
Elaine and I exchanged information about older novels and the interesting question of whether to update these.
Let’s look at this question of whether to “update” novels:
Say you wrote a romance that was published 30 years ago and was meant to be contemporary. Now 30 years later the romance is dated without the integration of ubiquitous cell phones, Google searches, etc.
If the romance is now being released as an ebook for the first time, should you simply put at the start of the ebook of the romance that it takes place in 1982? Or should you update the story itself to be contemporary with 2012?
Elaine has so many published books that she is utilizing both approaches — leaving some books as what she calls “classic” (in the time period they were written) and updating others.
What’s interesting about Elaine connecting with me now is that I have just started to update unpublished Rebecca Stone mysteries to 2012. (Working title of the first mystery: CAST THE FIRST STONE: BOOK 1 OF THE REBECCA STONE MYSTERIES)
As Rebecca Stone is a business reporter for a major Los Angeles metropolitan print newspaper, this “update” requires a lot of changes, especially in terms of how reporters now get information.
On the other hand, I’m working on an unfinished novel that was contemporary in 1995 (working title of THE UNPREDICTABILITY OF THE NATURE OF LOVE).
Because the novel is a family saga with parts starting at the beginning of the 20th Century, I have decided not to update the contemporary time period. I am simply clearly labeling each time period section of the novel.
And I have recently decided to turn the partial draft of what was envisioned as the sequel to the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT into a memoir of being part of the U.S. Army occupying West Germany (working title of IF IT’S TUESDAY IT MUST BE GERMANY: TALES OF AN AMERICAN OCCUPYING GERMANY). Obviously as a memoir I do not have to worry about “updating” this book.
If any authors or readers have opinions on this question of updating or not updating novels meant to be taking place in contemporary time periods, do leave your comments below.
© 2012 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks. A new nonfiction ebook of hers is TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK and her newest fiction ebook is the thriller CIA FALL GUY.
She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com