Daily Archives: March 13, 2010

I’m a Cell-Out: Texting in Text

I know someone who is in the habit of randomly picking up unattended cell phones and reading through the texts found therein.  I don’t know about you, but I feel this is a serious invasion of privacy and more unethical than the nosy phone operators from the sixties who listened in on the party line.

However, this technological eaves-dropping has become quite common in YA books of late.  The key piece of info is texted to the wrong person, or a Facebook Folly creates irrepairable damage to relationships.  Cyber snoopers wreak havoc for the innocent PMer.  The wrong party pic ends up in the wrong hands.  The list is endless and limited only to our imaginations experiences.

Yet I can’t help but wonder about this trend.  Is it a cliche?  An easy out for info gathering?  Reality?  Necessary to engage our readers? 

The thing I like about writing Middle Grade is that the pressure to add these elements isn’t quite there yet.  Though I am under no illusions that, as more kids get phones younger, MG won’t fall victim to the trend/reality sooner rather than later. 

To date, I have only used texting in one of my novels.  My NaNo09.  It actually plays a key role in the suspense and over all story.  I’m not sure how I feel about it, except to say I don’t know if I could have pulled off my plot without it. 

I hate texting in real life.  I dislike it even more in my manuscript.  I think this makes me a hypocrit–being old fashioned and reluctant to integrate, yet needing the ease of texting to create a more plausible plot development.  It makes me feel like a sell-out.  And yet I can’t help but wonder…

Is social networking a necessary component in contemporary fiction?  Have you used these devices in your writing?  If so, how?  If not, how do you feel about the idea in general? 

As a reader, do passages of texting, emails or chats distract from the story at hand or enhance it? 

Am I the last cell-out?