Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Between the Lines - The Cell Phones

Here it is, the last "behind the scenes" look at my Everyday Divinities short stories! If you haven't read it yet, stop reading this and pick it up on either Kindle or Nook right this second! It's only $2, and you'll get to read some neat little fiction pieces that take place in the setting I've been building for my trilogy. Plus, the rest of this blog post will make much more sense after you've read it.

Ready? Here we go!

The Cell Phones

First off, I should say that this is my favorite of all of the short stories in Everyday Divinities. It's certainly the one I'm most proud of in the collection, which makes me wonder why I put it in the back of the collection instead of up front. I suppose I was trying to order them chronologically so new readers would experience them much like my blog readers have, only faster. Or maybe I just wanted to save the best for last. Yeah, I'll go with that.

The inspiration for this story came from a dear friend of mine, Natalie, who posted on Facebook one day that she'd destroyed yet another phone. Naturally, I made an off-handed comment about how her cell phone body count should be one of my next short stories. Barely a week later, and it was so. The horrible history of her cell phone abuse is now immortalized in a short story, going back to her first phone and all the way up to that latest tragedy. And yes, I asked her for a history of each cell phone and why it had to be replaced, which she was more than happy to supply.

Character-wise, Sal got his name from a bastardization of the "cell" in "cellular phone." I know, it sounds like I ripped it straight out of a mafia movie, but I promise you that's not the case. B.B. Tana got her first initials from Blackberry, the brand of phone that Natalie ended up getting to replace her latest victim, and "Tana" came from... Huh. I'm not sure where Tana came from, actually. Probably a name I'd heard before and thought it'd fit nicely into a story. Sometimes it's not any deeper than that, really. The personalities were easy enough to nail down, with Sal as the grudgingly accommodating god of cell phones and Tana as the employee who's not afraid to call foul when the system doesn't work.

Speaking of which, this is the first time a god refuses to do his or her job in any of my stories. All of the others feature gods who dutifully do what they're told, even if their job stinks, but this one focuses on a goddess who not only refuses to do her job as the embodiment of an object, she threatens to unmake herself in the Great Void if she's forced to go along with it. The Great Void is a concept that took form in this story as the ultimate expression of destruction, the bane of any being who embodies something that was created in our world, and it quickly found its way into my trilogy since then as a fate worse than simply having a god's domain destroyed. Objects can be rebuilt, after all, and a god whose object was destroyed is essentially unemployed until a new object/job is assigned. But if a god is unmade, then both the object and the entity that embodies it is toast. Gone. Eradicated.

Understandably, a force that can kill an immortal is something of great dramatic use to me as a writer, especially in this setting.

We also get our first teasing glimpse of the other powers that operate in this setting. The gods of inanimate objects, or Inanimates, are the focus of these stories and my trilogy, but they're not the only pantheon around. The Animates who embody all living things are the other side of that divine coin, though their interaction with the Inanimates is limited. As for the Ephemerals, their power is much greater and much broader than either of the other pantheons. If the Inanimates and Animates are divine companies set up to administer every facet of the modern world, living or not, the Ephemerals are the parent company that owns and operates the other two.

Will we see these other pantheons in stories? That certainly would make a fine way to follow up a trilogy about the Inanimates, wouldn't it?

Finally, major props once again to Karuna Tanahashi for giving this story a little editorial TLC. She made some excellent suggestions, some of which were integrated into the finished product, and some of which were not. I choose my battles wisely when it comes to keeping certain elements in, and I think it paid off.

Got a question you'd like to ask about The Cell Phones story? Feel free to post it in the comments section below, and I'll answer it right on this very page!

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