Thursday, August 12, 2010

Change is Strange

Abe Lincoln wrote with coal on a wooden shovel. I had a slate at home when I started school. We (not Abe - my classmates and I) switched to those big red pencils. Then, low and behold, we got to use HB pencils. From there we graduated to straight pens (you had to dip them in ink regularly if you wanted to blot your copybook) and then, we graduated to the latest in modern technology - the Fountain Pen. We were not allowed to use ball point pens. Who knew what evil they would lead us into?

In 1957, our physics teacher told us about an innovation - the computer. It was humongous, filling an entire very large room. Give it a question (in binary) it would ho, hum, ha, squeak and barf. The card emerging from all this had the answer to your question - in binary. Now computers fit in envelopes, shirt pockets or telephones. My 1995 Neon has a computer which continually says "Check engine". So much for that! After 15 years of "Check engine" I have realized there is something wrong with: me, the computer or the engine. The mechanic seems to think it is me.

So much for the many changes in 'how'. What changes are there in 'what'? What?
The Bible has quite a few love stories in it, but they are difficult to read, given all the 'thees, thous, therefores, thereafters and so ons'. No noticiable triangles. There are a bunch of other writers between then and now, but it is mostly agreed that Victoria Holt brought forth Romance as a saleable genre. She wrote stuff like: "Then she met the magnetic, inscrutable Conrad," who was, of course a prince.

Then there were the glory days of the 'lovers triangle'. Two lovers, usually one dark haired and one blond and one girl. The blond was nearly always the winner. (Funny. My first husband was a blond and he definitely was not a winner).

Triangles faded and he/she stories became the norm. Harlequin became a name well know and did not refer to a type of bright clothes worn by fools. Romance branched out from sweet to erotic, fantasy, medieval, modern and etc.
Authors within the same family were different. Charles Dickens wrote a couple of classics while at home being a strict Victorian father. His son Frances was finally disposed of by buying him a commission with the NWMP. He was stationed in Saskatchewan where he wrote a hilarious book, "Dickens of the Mounted".
He wrote it while drunk, which he was for approximately 40 years. (Read it if you find it, especially the part where he put the dogs in the sled and pulled it himself). Thus, from straight laced to dead drunk became a new way to write - then we have Timothy Leary...

Others, like Jane Austen were different in that she would not allow her name to be printed on her books. Try that idea on modern authors! Beatrice Potter's parents wouldn't hear of her writing books. She had to sneak a little to get her books published. Ten dollars was the going price for new manuscripts. But they did get published easily. That is certainly a difference from the modern day ease of being published.
What is different today? Getting published has roughly the same odds of winning the MAX lottery.

You wonder where this is going, don't you? Well, so do I.

Titles have changed drastically. With 'Peter the Rabbit', you knew where you were. But Clockwork Orange?
Oryx and Crake? Anything is fine, as long as it has nothing to do with the story. I may call my medieval 'The Orangemen's Parade'.

Having 'gone about as fer as we can go' in literary efforts, what changes are there to make?

Looking at your own work, what style changes have you made in your writing career? What directions have changed? What genre(s) have you explored other than your own? What changes to you plan to make? What is the most  totally misleading title can you think of? Where do you foresee romance writing going now? Will ebooks take over? Are you still thinking of paper or do you write exclusively for ebook distributers now?

Note: This computer (only marginally better than that other #$%^ thing), has been refusing to let me post comments. If there are no answers to you, it is not that I don't care about you - it will be more like 'she threw the $%^&* thing into the lake. Or I'll answer by email. - connie


Karyn Good said...

You always make me laugh, Connie! The biggest change I'm looking to make is to go from unpublished to published. lol And to do that requires change, or maybe more of a maturing in regards to craft.

I can't say for sure where I think things are going in regards to the genre or publication, I'm too busy just trying to write and stay ahead of two teenagers! But they're very interesting questions that I'll be thinking over.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Connie,
I guess the biggest change I've made since starting to write has been writing for an epublisher, something that didn't even exist when I first started writing. Publishing has probably changed more in the last five years than it has in the last 150. Who knows where it will go from here?


connie said...

Hi Karyn

Staying ahead of two teenagers is a challenge and a half!

I had one of those moments today that every mother of a teen thinks about from time to time: I watched our oldest deal with his recalcitrant teenage son...

One of the great things about this blogspot is that we all get together everyday and learn from each other and mature in ways not available to us otherwise.

Hope you get to change to published soon as I am waiting none to patiently to read the ms you have been working on. It's intriguing


connie said...

Hi Jana

How are things in The Peg. This time of year I enjoyed driving to Winnipeg from Brandon, where I lived then, and seeing the fields and fields of sunflowers.

I wonder too where publishing can go from here. I keep thinking 'it has gone about as fer as it can go'and I can't begin to think what else is possible.

Ebook publishing is amazing. Without moving from my chair, I can buy and read a book virtually instantly. Hopefully, some day I can get one published and I think I may try ebooks first. But first first, I guess I have to finish the darn manuscript...

I hope when I get to the publishing part, manuscripts are going for more than $10!

Jane Austen sold one for $10, but the publisher didn't do anything with it, so her brother bought it back. Be glad! It was Pride and Prejudice

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Connie, I like this post.

The Bible has quite a few love stories in it, but they are difficult to read, given all the 'thees, thous, therefores, thereafters and so ons'.
Well, the King James Version does, but I like to read the New International Version and that means I haven't read a thee or thou for years.
And you're right about the love stories. I still can't believe Song of Solomon is in their unabridged. LOL

And this is too funny because I bought Dickens of the Mounted on eBay just last week and am expecting it in the mail any day. Well, not any day because I won't be looking for it on Sat or Sun, but Monday, for sure. :D

Anita Mae.

connie said...

Hi Anita

Yes, I like the NIV too. I bought one for 50 cents at a garage sale. It had (can you believe) it had never been opened. The former dean of St. Albans translated and wrote footnotes for part of it.

I think you will enjoy Dickens of the Mounted. On eBay? I didn't know that books were sold on it. I always go to b and n. habit.