I just finished reading an article by Deena Nataf on writing conversations on the phone. The book I finished writing has some phone conversations in it and I have challenges writing them.
A phone conversation, like any other writing is a writing technique. It should be there to share information with the reader about the goal, the characters, moving the story forward. How do I do this? Do I write both sides of the conversation or just one side? And if it’s only one side how do I share the information that other side of the conversation?
Some of the tips I read say you need to make the conversation as close to a real phone conversation as possible. You need to know both sides of the conversation. Maybe write it out so you can see it. Then focus on fitting in the questions and comments from the person on the other end. The reader needs to be able to figure out what the person on the other end is asking and/or responding from what the person you’re listening to says.
Answers phone – Hi, Mom. You know who they are talking to.
I’m making lunch. They asked what the person was doing?
No, I haven’t seen George lately. They asked if the person knew where George is
You get the idea. To improve your technique of writing phone calls, listen to people on the phone.
Hear how they answer and figure out what the questions or comments might have been.
When you finish writing the telephone dialogue, read it out loud. Ask yourself whether it sounds realistic. Like everything else you write, does it move the plot forward? Does it reveal any of your characters goals or contribute to the readers knowledge.
Hopefully this helps improve my phone dialogue.