Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2 TECH or NOT 2 TECH - Maurissa Guibord

Maine author Maurissa Guibord will see her first YA novel, WARPED, published by Delacorte Press, Spring 2011, in which a young girl releases a Unicorn from its bondage within an antique tapestry by pulling on a silver thread.

That is, if it’s a Unicorn at all.

Drop by Maurissa’s website by clicking HERE.

        Writing Teen - To Tech or Not to Tech?
                        By Maurissa Guiford.

The great thing about writing a teen character is that inside, I’m still a teen.

All the pains and thrills and drama are in there. The laughs and the friendships are all there. And the emotional stuff, the character stuff that’s universal to all of us, that’s there too.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that the world changes.

One of the biggest challenges for me as a writer is keeping current with technology.

Will my character text, skype, tweet, ichat, blog, vlog or otherwise trip the ether fantastic? Probably not convincingly. Not only am I not as familiar with such things as, say, your average 9-year-old, I don’t like their obsolete-by-the-time-ink-dries little gadgets cluttering up my story.

Since these things change so quickly, how can they not date your story hopelessly?

My solution thus far has been pretty simple. In WARPED, my main character has too many other-worldly, scary and romantic things happening to have time to text about it. And her boyfriend’s from the sixteenth century. He’s just getting used to zippers. Nuff said?

For my current novel-in-progress, I have found another solution. My main character is on an island and has lost her cell phone in the Atlantic by Chapter 3.

So my advice, for whatever age writer you may be, is to write what you know. Write about the journey that we all share to find ourselves, our dreams and desires.

As for the rest? Make it up. Or drop it in the sea.


Terry said...

Drop it in the sea:) Great idea!

It's the same for adults these days. So your suggestions are helpful all around. Thanks.

Alissa said...

There's a hilarious video montage I saw once on YouTube that someone put together that shows all the ways that movie-makers get around the cell phone thing. Basically it's a bunch of clips of cell phones showing "no signal" type messages or getting massively destroyed. said...

Terry, sooner or later YA is going to come get you. There's plnety of room for good noir in h.s. said...

There are still pockets in the landscape with no cellular connectvity. Here in our little mountains, there are places alongside the road where people drive to park because they can use their cell phones in that particular area.

Still, it must be more fun to just kill the things somehow.

Maurissa said...

Terry- thanks for reading! Randy was nice enough to let me contribute to his blog but I missed it going up- I've been so busy freezing my tookas off on our Florida vacation.

Maurissa said...

Alissa- Ooh that's sounds hilarious! It's ironic to think that we are so busy trying to eliminate all the pop culture references and technology from our stories in order not to date ourselves, meanwhile in a hundred years time these things will seem quaint and colorful- and some poor slob of a writer will have to research them in order to stick them in for historical flavor!!

Jeni said...

It's funny -- I finished a novel a couple of years ago, that I'd started three years earlier, and while editing it, I noticed there was a reference to a CD player that the girl was listening to (like a Walkman). I had to change it to iPod, so the story wouldn't be quite as dated, but who knows what the next piece of technology will be to replace the iPod?

Maurissa said...

Jeni- good catch! -yes that's exactly why I try to leave it all out. But even my metaphors get screwed up- I wrote about a monstrous black dog in my story with a head "the size of a boom box" until an editor informed me that teens may not know what I'm talking about. That made me feel old! :-)

Terry said...

Maurissa, I apologize for our weather. I think this is the longest, coldest winter in recorded history for Florida.

Kathy McCullough said...

I think this is such a common cause for anxiety among writers! I like your solutions. I try to include the bare minimum, but I'm always worried I'm five gadgets behind.

Anonymous said...

Love this.

I also happen to live in one of those cell phone dead zones :)

Medeia Sharif said...

I put technology in my books, but I try to do it as vaguely as possible. When I use terms like email, cell phones and instant messaging, I try not to get into appearances or brand names. Teenagers use these things and I don't want to completely gloss over them. said...

Yeah, I had people flipping their cell phones open and closed in my last work. And just realized everyone is changing to little platform phones and iPhones and..

But, you know, it's not just high techy stuff. If I put a kid on a bicycle, I have to go learn what bikes are like these days.

And clothes!

I mean, I guess no one wears Madras Nehru shirts any more.

Maurissa said...

Ttechnolgyerry- Oh I don't mind the weather really- in fact we've still had a marvelous time!

Patseden- Hi! I live in a zone that's not quite dead- but I don't use the cell phone much anyway.

I like Kathy and Medeia's comments about using the references to tech sparingly and with poetic vagueness :-)

Randy I think your your character could wear a nehru shirt- if he's into vintage or something. And can withstand getting teased mercilessly ;-)

Maurissa said...

Ack! Terry I didn't mean to mangle your name. Stupid alien laptop!

Anonymous said...

Short and sweet. Nice interview :)

Maurissa said...

Jon-Thanks for checking it out and I really appreciate your comment:)