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  1. #1
    Gloria L. Sarasin
    Guest

    phone conversations

    When writing a novel, how do you handle phone conversation dialogue? Do you allow both sides to be heard, or just the one? I have finished my first novel, and have currently written both sides of each phone conversation, he said, she said, but fear it may be wrong. Thank you for any help you may be able to give to me.



  2. #2
    Jeanne Gassman
    Guest

    Re: phone conversations

    This is really a POV issue, I think. Think about it this way. If you have two characters speaking to each other over the phone, they are in different locations. You can show both sides of the conversation, but it would probably be most effective if you remained in the POV of only one person and have the other person simply speaking to her. Example:

    Susan didn't have to hear the voice to know that it was her mother on the line--again. "What do you want, Mom?" she asked, wishing that she had let the machine pick it up.

    Her mother let out a long sigh. "Is that any way to talk to your mother? The woman who endured thirty-six hours of labor and nearly died from loss of blood? I have a problem," she said.

    Clamping the earpiece between her ear and neck, Susan reached for the bottle of Black Jack. This one called for "neat," no ice. She had feeling she would need all the fortitude she could muster. "What kind of problem?" she asked, dreading her mother's answer. She poured the liquor into an eight-ounce glass and waited for the onslaught of complaints.

    --And so on-- Note that we never see Susan's mother's POV in this scene, but we do hear everything of consequence that she has to say. The answer then, is, "Yes, you can have both sides of the conversation. Just be very conscious of your character's POV." I would also add one other caution. Telephone conversations can become quite static unless you have some action to counter or to complement what is being said. Keep the scene moving beyond the actual spoken dialogue.

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
    Debbi Voisey
    Guest

    Re: phone conversations

    I am writing in first person, and my MC is present when someone is on the phone. She only hears his side, not what the caller says, so in that case it can only be written one-sided, unless it is on speakerphone.

    When my MC is on the phone, because I am writing in first person, then I can show both sides.

    Debbi

  4. #4
    Kim Seinna
    Guest

    Re: phone conversations

    I came across this same issue when I wrote my latest ms. I only allowed the reader to 'hear' one side of the conversation. The plot required it, and I felt it was the best way to handle it.

  5. #5
    latichever
    Guest

    Re: phone conversations

    see Bob Newhart, the master of one sided phone conversations.

  6. #6
    Gloria L. Sarasin
    Guest

    Re: phone conversations

    I would like to thank everyone who responded to this question, I'm in the process of making revisions. I haven't, however, been able to find anything on Bob Newhart, regarding phone conversations. Don you have a link, latichever?

    One more thing, in my research for the answer to my question, I ran across the following website. On there, they stress to never begin a sentence with the words "There" or "It", woe is me, more revisions. Most of you out there probably know this already, but if you don't, I hope this helps.

    http://www.steampunk.com/sfch/writing/ckilian/#2

  7. #7
    Jeanne Gassman
    Guest

    Re: phone conversations

    Bob Newhart is a stand-up comedian famous for his phone conversation monologues. He's had several successful hit tv shows, including "The Bob Newhart Show" and "Newhart." If you Google him or look on Amazon.com, you may be able to find DVDs of his old shows or specials. Good luck.

  8. #8
    C Bets
    Guest

    Re: phone conversations

    Jeanne's right. Bob N. was a notoriously funny standup when it came to his one sided phone conversations. e.g.:

    "Hello? . . . no, no my refridgerator's just fine. . . . You what? You want to get Prince Albert out of the can? . . . Oh, oh, I see . . . No, I wasn't, I wasn't aware he WAS in my can. . . . . ." etc etc

    He just goes on and on - of course I don't do it justice. You have to be a spectator of his style. Really is hysterical watching him.

    Good luck Gloria.

    C

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