Plotting Around Cell Phones by @_NancyRadke

Cell PhoneThe first books I wrote, the Sisters of Spirit series, were written before cell phones were even thought of, much less used, by everyone. That’s not very many years ago and I wrote them on a typewriter.  When I went to publish them, I had to bring some of them up-to-date by adding modern things like the cell phone and the personal computer, which I switched to while we still needed to open it in DOS (the disk operating system).

Not Easy To Do

The addition of cell phones changes a plot. Instead of being out in the wilderness without a phone, the injured hero just calls rescue. Now the plot must be changed so that there is no coverage, or his phone is broken during his fall, or the battery is dead.  Authors are forced to use these excuses so that they can keep the hero in trouble longer. In my latest Brothers of Spirit book, Terminal Pursuit, the hero has thrown his phone out the car window onto the highway so he can’t be traced, and is wishing that the phone booths that used to be on the street corners were still there. He threw his first phone into the river earlier in the book, along with a bomb that had been placed in the car.

Terminal Pursuit

Into The Future

I found a TV show called Tunnel especially interesting. The detective hero is sent 30 years into the future. He doesn’t know what has happened to his typewriter, what a computer is, or what the things are that folks are carrying around with them. How can a picture get on their phone? He hasn’t heard of DNA or CCTV (closed circuit television). He doesn’t have a driver’s license and has to bum rides and borrow money. But his detecting methods still work.

I was in my seventies before I got a cell phone. I don’t use it every minute of the day. And I don’t carry my phone on me as it is heavy and pulls my jeans down. It sits wherever I’ve left it, and I have to run through the house to answer it. If I’m outside, I’ll miss a call. I can deposit money and do online banking on the phone. But I just found out that you can get a pinpoint GPS with your phone, which I then added to the latest book I’m writing, a cozy mystery called Any Lucky Dog Can Follow a Trail of Blood. This book is part of the Authors’ Billboard anthology called Murder is to Die For. The anthology will be available a week from now on 9-17-21. Technology grows faster than I can write.

Writing A Book Takes Time

So when you read a book and the technology isn’t up-to-date, just realize how long it takes to write a book sometimes. Modern technology might not have even been around when the author was plotting the book. Things like drones, or computer phones as part of your wrist watch. That last was first envisioned by the author of the Dick Tracy comic strip; the detective had a two-way wrist radio. The real watch far surpasses the wrist radio, but I remember thinking that we’d never have anything like that. Now my daughter talks to her wrist all the time.


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About Nancy Radke

A USA Today bestselling author, Nancy Radke grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch in SE Washinton State. She attended a one-room country school through the eighth grade. She learned to ride bareback at age 3 (Really! It was a common practice.) and when she got off or fell off, she would pull her horse's nose to the ground, get on behind its ears, and the horse would lift its head so she could scoot down onto its back. Nancy spent most of her childhood exploring the Blue Mountain trails that bordered the ranchlands. She and a friend once took a trail that turned out to be a two day trip. They always rode with matches and pocket knives, so made camp and returned the next day. These long rides worried her parents, but provided plenty of time to make up stories. Her first novel was set in the Blues, and is entitled APPALOOSA BLUES. TURNAGAIN LOVE was the first one published. It rated a four star review from Affaire de Coeur. Scribes World said "Turnagain Love has some fascinating twists and turns, unexpected complications, and charming scenes." It is light and humorous. Nancy currently has over 30 books written, both modern and western. All her stories are sweet and wholesome.  View website

One Reply to “Plotting Around Cell Phones by @_NancyRadke”

  1. So true. The books I wrote ten years ago are out of date technologically. Cell phones back then didn’t have GPS or flashlight function. Most still had buttons for texting and didn’t take high res pictures much less movies. We used to call them “smartphones” to distinguish them from the regular flip phones.

    I’m tempted to write books dated in the 1980s, especially if it’s a mystery series because nowadays, people can say, why don’t you just trace his cell phone or look through security cameras for facial recognition. In the 1980s we only had answering machines, typewriters, fax machines, and some people had a little boxy Apple computer and a dot matrix printer. Sure would make writing a mystery or suspense story easier.

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