Friday, March 20, 2009

Cell Phones and Playing What If?

I keep my cell phones forever—until they die. This week my flip phone literally fell apart. So I went shopping for a new one. I was pleased to discover I could get one free that for now uses my current plan with my wireless company but will let me upgrade to all sorts of nifty features later—IF I choose. But I don't have to.

It made me think about how different people approach life. Some want the latest stuff—whether they can afford it or not. Some always choose the cheapest option—even if they could afford better and from an objective point of view they would be better off doing so. Most of us are somewhere in the middle, trying to find a balance in between most and least expensive based on what matters to us.

As a writer, of course, and because I'm teaching an online course on creating characters starting this Monday, I immediately started picturing different characters going into a cell phone store and the different phones they would choose.

It's a useful exercise for any writer about any kind of purchase. If your character went into a store to buy anything—food, clothes, cell phone, toy, etc.--what kind would they choose and why? To take it a step further, one could ask: What would the people around them (friends, family and/or co-workers) think and say about that purchase?

One of the great things about being a writer is getting to play games like this!