I’ve noticed myself doing something when I read a novel which wouldn’t have been possible in the last century, or at least not as easy to do.
Are you ever reading a book with a webpage open on your phone or computer at the same time, doing a quick Google search if you encounter something you aren’t familiar with? This could be a word, concept, event or place.
It may be something which is only relevant to specific genres. I know it applies to historical fiction, fantasy and sci-fi.
Let’s say you’re reading one of the above genres, and a character refers to the Battle of Agincourt, Mongolian Death Worm or Coriolis effect. It might not have an immediate impact on the story, the author has only included it to add depth to the background. You’d still like to know what they’re talking about, so you look it up. [I tend to have at least five Wikipedia tabs open at any time]
I think writers in the twenty-first century can take this phenomenon further.
In my current work-in-progress, some scenes are set in Lambeth Palace, medieval London. Should I go into depth about its appearance, location, structure, history and usage? Why bother if not every reader wants to know these details? As a writer, you can work on the assumption that the extra knowledge has already been provided by past authors, or may be accessed quickly online by the reader.
My take on all of this is that there is now less of a need for writers to go on a tangent, adding detail to the background facts of the story.
This gives the reader a choice: to either google or carry on in ignorant bliss.
Having greater choice in your work means appealing to a wider audience. How can that be a bad thing? Write less, focus on the main narrative, reach more readers. That’s an aspect of the internet surge we can get on board with.
Let me know in the comments if this was useful. Do you have any writing tips to share?
- Tip #1: The Prologue
- Tip #2: The Process
- Tip #3: Writing Faux Pas – Debunked
- Tip #4: A Useful App For Writers
- Tip #5: Writing The Main Plot