Are you outdating your book? It’s easy to do. Books are the archival medium of our culture. Their production time is the longest partly because of their archival nature.
Instant. If you want something published instantly, you should use a blog post, a newspaper article, or a radio report. This type of information has a short shelf-life and has information that relates mostly to the current day.
Intermediate Time Frame. Some mediums that take a longer view of information and stories are weekly newspapers and magazines (on or off line). These formats offer a wider view of a story and provide more in-depth analysis and discussion of the ramifications of the story.
Long-term. Books are the long view of a story or information. Some books are only viable for a limited amount of time; but many are timeless, meant to be a classic view of a subject.
Let’s assume that you want to write a classic book. You are in danger of outdating your story if you use these things:
Jargon, slang or just-for-this-moment-in-time language. The Oxford Dictionary declared “Selfie,” as the Word of the Year for 2013.
selfie noun, informal
(also selfy; plural selfies)
a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website
If you include the word “selfie” in a book this year, will it be outdated in ten years? That’s the question you must ask yourself. While taking photographs of yourself and posting them is current HOT today, will it be hot in ten years or 100 years? Will this blog post be outdated by 2015?
There’s a trade-off, of course. You want to sound contemporary; however, you don’t want to be so contemporary that you’re outdated in a decade.
It’s a judgment call. To prevent being outdated, make sure you consider the long-term ramifications of your language.
What’s your favorite contemporary word? And have you used it in your current WIP?
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