avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters November 5, 2011 - 6:27pm

If I'm writing a phone conversation....does it feel awkward not to "hear" the person on the other end?  Can I just write the person we are with, or should it be like a conversation where the reader is in on both sides?

Thoughts? 

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts November 5, 2011 - 6:51pm

A one-sided conversation? If we're experiencing something from a main character's perception and they are talking on the phone, they would probably know what is going on on the other end. If your main character is in a room with someone else who is on the phone, they would probably just hear the one-sided conversation. It depends on your POV. From a reader's perspective a one-sided conversation can be pretty boring or a reader might think it's a thinly veiled mechanism of suspense, not to say it can't be pulled off just fine.

Raelyn's picture
Raelyn from California is reading The Liars' Club November 5, 2011 - 6:54pm

This really depends on your narrator. If it's first person and the narrator is the one on the phone, then of course you'd hear the other side. If you're a 3rd person limited, then no you wouldn't. And of course if you have an omnipotent narrator then you'd get to play with it. Personally I don't think it would be awkward if only one side was heard- it could build tension. 

Raelyn's picture
Raelyn from California is reading The Liars' Club November 5, 2011 - 6:54pm

Oh, Ren beat me to it.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters November 5, 2011 - 7:24pm

It's a third person limited.  I wrote it originally with just one side.  Then I thought it sounded dumb, so I added the other side.  Now I'm staring at it and hating myself. 

I feel like the audience is sitting next to my character.  That they would only hear him.  But it feels really awkward.  But when I see it there with both sides...it looks really awkward.

I might cut the damn thing out all together. 

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts November 5, 2011 - 7:51pm

Limited 3rd you are still connected to your main character (and only that character, hence limited), relating his sensory input throught a sort of "over-the-shoulder cam."

Why does it sound awkward? If you wrote it as one-sided conversation and added the other end, maybe one or both characters are saying/explaining too much. What info do you need to relay over the phone? How would the characters get to the point of saying the one important thing? How would they get to the point of hanging up?

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters November 5, 2011 - 7:59pm

Good questions.  I'm trying to break it all down into the simplest form so i can see what  I need.  Or if I actually need it at all, or if it was just a filler I can toss away. 

You write a fucking book, and then somewhere in the process you forget half of what you wrote!  Or at least I did. 

I'm going to sleep on this scene and take it fresh tomorrow over blueberry scones. 

 

simon morris's picture
simon morris from Originally, Philadelphia, PA; presently Miami Beach, FL is reading This Body of Death, by Elizabeth George November 6, 2011 - 5:48am

I think one of the greatest feats in dramatic narration is to write only what the person in the room says and use subtle changes in body language and facial expressions to note what the other person may be saying if you are writing a third person POV. A first would report both sides.

misskokamon's picture
misskokamon from San Francisco is reading The Moonlit Mind November 6, 2011 - 2:01pm

Hey Averydoll,

Is it for your current WIP? I read your story in the worskop, I'm still working on my review though!

I have to say it'd be better to keep it one-sided since you're doing it in a limited POV. The character you're focusing on can hear certain things--the other character stretching on the sofa, a rumble of car outside the window, a smile entering a voice. It sounds like a fun challenge. Try working in as many senses as you can without us actually seeing the person on the other line. It might be difficult, but that's what I do in my writing.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters November 6, 2011 - 2:12pm

It is, yes.  I'm working on my second draft of the first chapter, but also sweeping up some other messy areas as well.

The first chapter is going to get a serious re-write.  I wasn't sure how I wanted to spin things, but I'm starting to see a better way, little by little.  Hopefully I'll be able to post a revision in a few weeks.  I have another short story I need to get reviews on first.  It's a bit more pressing.

I went back and made it so you only hear one side of the conversation again.  I think it seems better this way.  It's cleaner anyway.