I’ve been editing my middle grade mystery/adventure story, Tiernay West, Professional Adventurer (formerly published as Secret of the Three Treasures) for re-release in an ebook edition.
The book came out almost seven years ago, and it’s fascinating to see how much has changed … and how this leads one to have to make certain editorial decisions.
My protagonist’s mother’s boyfriend’s son (aka Kevin) has a desktop computer, to start with, which might not be true now–a laptop or tablet seem more likely. I let that go. As a gamer, maybe Kevin was able to afford more processing power on a desktop, or maybe his dad didn’t want him dragging his computer around everywhere he went.
But then I came to a sentence where Kevin is playing games on a “handheld computer” at school. That’d definitely be a phone, now. I almost changed it to one … only of course, if I give Kevin a cell phone, the whole rest of the story changes, because the plotting of a mystery with a cell phone is different from plotting a mystery without one. That level of editing would shift the book from a re-release to an alternate edition.
So I’ve decided that the book simply takes place at the time when it was published, and that any historical artifacts reflect that. Since the story is set in our own world (albeit with protagonist Tiernay West’s unique adventuring take on same), this makes sense to me, though for a different book I might have decided differently, because how firmly a book is grounded in its time varies.
Since time has passed since the events of Tiernay West, Professional Adventurer though, this does mean that in our own time, Tiernay is now applying to colleges and making her way out into the world to become an adventurer for real.
This is a frightening and wonderful thought. :-)