For years I resisted getting a cellphone. Back then they were dumb flip-phones, very rudimentary. Today, my hand-held supercomputer occupies way too much of my time, just ask my wife.
Cellphones are great for connecting to the world, but that’s a sizable problem for fiction writers. One of the jobs of storytelling is to isolate your main character and the situation. After all, if they aren’t isolated, they can solve the problem with a simple phone call to someone more capable. Stakes are lowered, tension is dropped, main character motivation is compromised.
Twenty years ago, isolating a character was easy. Cut them off on an island, maroon them out of their depth, have the car break down. Now help is a cellphone call away. Out of power? Borrow someone else’s, everyone has one.
Need to defuse a bomb? YouTube has your back and it’s right on your phone.
You can break their phone, have them forget their phone, be beyond cell service… but that only works for so long.
Historical fiction is looking very good these days.
Good writers can find a way, of course. In thrillers and suspense stories, you can be tracked with your phone, so depower and remove the battery. Or perhaps your character is a technophobe or allergic to electronic frequencies (supposedly a real thing).
No matter how you do it, you have to be believable and consistent in isolating your characters. If the reader has to ask, “Why didn’t she just…” then you’ve pulled them out of the story.
What are some ways you’ve isolated your characters?