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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Dated Attitudes

Another blog written in Minnesota: I mentioned that I'd re-read a couple of old favorite books of mine while I was home in MN. I talked about slang, now I'll talk about a few other things that make them dated and I don't mean the technology or lack thereof so much as the attitude.
I've worried off and on about the technology dating my books. Things have changed so fast that it's hard to anticipate what to put in when writing a story. What will stay fresh and what will leave readers going, that's so 2006? Personally, as I read these books again, the typewriter and lack of cell phones didn't bother me because I knew the books were older. The hero's attitude, though, was another story.
First, let me say that I still enjoyed both books and I'd still re-read them. The author released them as ebooks and I'd love to see if she rewrote them or not. I know, for me personally, I left my stories as they were written originally. I call them O'Shea Classic and only fixed a couple of things that really bothered me. My thoughts on this were that people who wanted to get the original story in ebook format, should be able to get that. The other point is that I want to work on new stuff, not rewrite the old—which I could do indefinitely.
Um, but I digress. So anyway, I'm reading the original 1989 version of these books, and while I'm curious if the author rewrote them, I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't. And honestly, she didn't really have to although there were a few things the hero did that made me grit my teeth.
Pet peeve of mine is when the hero calls the heroine "a little idiot." This is something that happened a lot in the old 80s era romances I hunted down. There were books written in the early to mid-80s that I read in the 90s that had me rewriting the story so the heroine ditched the so-called hero and found a better man. These books weren't that far gone, but there was the little idiot factor at work.
There was the way the hero threatened the heroine with spankings and actually did spank her once. Not because it was a BDSM book or kinky in anyway. It was because the heroine got too mouthy. This seriously annoyed the hell out of me. The hero wasn't a full-blown asshole, but there were some lingering wisps of that here.
The one other pet peeve of mine—and I've blogged about this several times—is the constant use of the characters names in these old books. Some new books today, too, but I think the 80s were particularly bad for soap opera dialogue where the name is used in every paragraph of conversation between the h/h and sometimes more than once per paragraph. People do not talk that way. But I won't digress down that path any more than I already have.
Reading these older books do get me thinking, though, about how my own work will hold up to time. I already know one book where my reference to a website is already dated. It was almost to that point when the book was released, but I hadn't guessed how fast MySpace would fade from public use. It dropped like a rock. I've learned and I'll mull over my re-reading lessons a bit, too.