Saturday, March 12, 2011

Between the Lines - The TV and the Remote Control

Ladies and gentlemen, loyal fans of all ages, I present to you the second part of my Between the Lines series! Since I kicked this feature off with The Alarm Clock, I thought I'd follow up with the second short story of The Everyday Divnities Project...

The TV and the Remote Control

To start, a little background on why I wrote this story. After The Alarm Clock story introduced the concept of gods attached to inanimate objects, I wanted to show a little of the "behind the scenes" action that goes on when someone uses your average household appliance. As adults, we're all familiar with how remote controls work. As kids, however, we sometimes make up fanciful explanations as to why some things work the way they do. Our ancestors did the same thing with everything from natural disasters to physical ailments, attributing it to unseen forces wielded by powerful divinities. Why not turn that same fanciful thinking to something as mundane as turning on the TV? This story, then, is my way of explaining that process through the lens of my fictional world.

It should also be noted that this is another case of not being objective about my writing. Why I thought it was a good idea to edit my own writing before putting it up is beyond me. Previous drafts of my novel were always read by other writers and creative folk, and their suggestions always made my writing stronger. I'll eventually come to realize that and run future stories past someone for editorial critiquing, but that won't happen until The Desktop and Laptop Computers story. Sadly, you'll have to suffer through my poor judgment until then.

Also, this story features more human narrative than the last one, bookending the story with familiarity. While I strive to make my divinities more human by mirroring their world with that of the adult working world, and thus easier for an audience to connect with, I also wanted to create more of a connection by putting some more human faces in there. Remy and Lily were characters from the original draft of Inanimate Gods that didn't survive the transition from single novel to trilogy. Rather than continue to use the boy from The Alarm Clock in this story, I decided to reuse these two characters here for some diversity. Also, any similarity between this Remy and the one I'm friends with is purely coincidental and completely unintentional. (Hi, Remy!)

As for the divinities themselves, the choice to mirror their work with your typical office procedures was an easy one. Ancient mythology often mirrored the societies that created them, giving the ruling gods their own domain, subjects, and symbols of power and authority. They were just like the people who created them, subject to the same character flaws that governed humanity, with some exceptions. In creating the divinities that govern inanimate objects, one only has to look around their own home to realize that we're talking about hundreds of thousands (and that's a modest estimate) of divinities, with domains as diverse as cars, tables, pens, sporks, buildings, chairs... you get the point. We're not talking about twelve deities who can sit on top of a mountain and get the job done, we're talking about a sprawling pantheon of gods who, from top to bottom, could function very much like any modern corporation. You'd have the chief gods on top plotting the course of things, and the lesser divinities on the bottom who enact that vision. The details might change in the divine realm, but the overarching structure of a corporate pantheon made sense when compared to our modern world.

Finally, on the decision to use How I Met Your Mother as the TV show Remy wanted to watch. I confess that I've never seen the show once, despite the fact that two of my favorite actors are on the series. I just needed the name of a funny, sitcom-style show for him to watch, and that was the first name to pop into my head. Sometimes it's just that simple.

Do you have a question you'd like to ask about The TV and the Remote Control story? Go ahead and post it in the comments section below, and I'll post the answers on this very page!

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Writers love feedback on their work! Constructive criticism, comments and questions are always welcome, just keep it clean for the kids!