Plotting with Cell Phones: A Writer’s Guide

I’m sure you’ve heard it a fair number of times, “I write this genre/time because there are no smart phones to deal with.”

It’s a tough fact, smart phones can kill your plot with a phone call or quick Google search. Here are a few examples.

What’s a writer to do? You either fall into one of two categories: avoid or embrace. Here are a few great ways to do both.

Avoid by:

  • Loss of service due to remote area, aka data roaming.
  • Loss of service due to non payment of bill.
  • Loss of service due to height of building, skyscrapers are too high without signal boosters.
  • Loss of service due to construction, concreate and metal walls can block or disrupt signal.
  • Loss of service due to dead battery.
  • Loss of service due to broken screen.
  • Loss of service due to water damage.
  • Loss of service due to data limit reached.

Embrace by:

  • Use it by sending a text to the wrong person.
  • Use it by messages being misinterpreted.
  • Use it by butt dialing characters.
  • Use it by highlighting what your character does and doesn’t understand.
    • Organization apps for characters who are control freaks.
    • Grandpa uses it to call but doesn’t understand texts.
    • Kids showing-up adults with tech skills.
    • Character addicted to Candy Crush misses important things.
  • Use it to search for answers that may (not) be correct.
  • Use it to create scandle.
  • Use it to show family dynamics.
  • Use it as a support net for someone struggling.
  • Use it to keep long distant connections close and in the mix.
  • Use it to track someone.
  • Use it to find your way or get lost.

Hopefully what you see here is a rich layering effect phones can give to your story. You can show a characters flaws and strengths based on the apps they chose (and don’t choose) to have on their devise. How characters spend their time and what they choose to react too. Remember, although the internet may have the correct answer the character may not find it or may interpret it incorrectly.

Add your thoughts below if you have more ideas to share.

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4 thoughts on “Plotting with Cell Phones: A Writer’s Guide

  1. I’m currently reading a Stephen King trilogy that exemplifies both of these perfectly! His main detective character is fairly tech- illiterate and the “sidekick” type character is highly computer skilled and the way he plays the two skill sets against each other is really well done!

    Great post! Lots of good ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

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