Author Topic: How do you write the television, radio or phone voice?  (Read 141 times)

Neus

  • Tag Line unlocked
  • *
  • Posts: 1
How do you write the television, radio or phone voice?
« on: June 11, 2019, 08:29:48 AM »
Hello,
I would like to know how to write a scene in which the character is listening to a TV or radio interview:

Helena sat on the couch and grabbed a slice of pizza.
"I had never seen anything like this," said the witness.
"Could you describe it?" asked the journalist.
"It was like looking at the devil's face."
Helena got a chill and spilled the coke on the floor.

Should I tag it as if it were a dialogue like I did or shall I use another format (italics, different quoting marks...)?
I haven't found anything about this topic online. Thank you very much!

 

Jeff Tanyard

Re: How do you write the television, radio or phone voice?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2019, 10:20:32 AM »
Good question.  If I had to decide right now, I'd probably go with italics.  I'd also be sure to have Helena's sentences interspersed with the radio dialog frequently enough so that the reader doesn't start to glaze over all the italicized stuff. 

Not completely sure, though, so you might want to solicit a few more responses before deciding.

Also, welcome to the site.   :cheers
v  v  v  v  v    Short Stories    v  v  v  v  v    vv FREE! vv
     
Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy (some day) | Author Website
 
The following users thanked this post: Neus

VanessaC

Re: How do you write the television, radio or phone voice?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 04:28:03 PM »
What Jeff said - I'd probably use italics.  If I could be sure the formatting would stick, I might also indent all the "overhead" stuff to make it clear it was separate from the rest of the text.

That said, I write fantasy, so no direct experience.  Grin

Also, what Jeff said - welcome!
 

Genre: Fantasy
 
The following users thanked this post: Neus

VisitasKeat

  • Short Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 296
  • Thanked: 24 times
  • Following my characters. Wherever they take me.
Re: How do you write the television, radio or phone voice?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2019, 05:03:26 PM »
I have used italics for cellphone conversation in my sixth fantasy novelette. I also used  round braces for interruptions like coughing. I also used italics for email conversations in the seventh episode.

Oh, and I don't use italics elsewhere while story telling.
https://www.amazon.com/author/roxiepowers

"Whenever you sight a rainbow bridge, remember, my beloveds, there exists a magic mirror."
 
The following users thanked this post: Neus

notthatamanda

Re: How do you write the television, radio or phone voice?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 09:05:34 PM »
I use italics for texts and in my latest book (WW2 Era) letters.  Conversations via phone or skype I treat as normal dialogue, just add some details to make sure the reader knows how they are communicating and make it realistic

Cellphone:
"What?" Jack said.  "I couldn't hear that."

Skype:
"Okay," Jill said.  She wanted to reach through the screen and touch him, but she couldn't, he was 3000 miles away.  She couldn't believe she wouldn't see him for another two weeks.

I've done TV and radio the same way.  I think I used Italics for song lyrics coming out of the radio once, (don't worry I wrote the lyrics) but the DJ was in quotes.  Maybe that was completely wrong, I'm not sure.  I think the most important thing is that it is clear to the reader who is talking.

Helena sat on the couch and grabbed a slice of pizza. No one said anything to her, she didn't even get a nod.  Everyone focused on the TV.
"I had never seen anything like this," said the witness.
"Could you describe it?" asked the journalist.
"It was like looking at the devil's face."
Helena got a chill and spilled the coke on the floor.

Honestly without you explaining that it was on TV, outside of the text, I don't know if I would have known where the witness and journalist were, sorry.
 
The following users thanked this post: Neus

Al Stevens

  • Short Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 294
  • Thanked: 70 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Coffee-drinking, insomniac binge writer
    • Al Stevens, Author, Musician
Re: How do you write the television, radio or phone voice?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 11:13:25 PM »
So much of the dialogue in my mystery stories is cell phone conversations that using italics would be cumbersome for me and tiresome for the reader. I write such dialogue as with any other conversation except that I mention one way or the other at the beginning that it's a phone call and whether it's "on speaker" so the reader will know whether other characters are privy to the exchange. At the end, I have them "ring off."
Genres: mystery, music, programming, science fiction, historical fiction


Author Central | Facebook Page | Mailing List Signup | Home Page |

Al Stevens is a retired author of computer programming books. For fifteen years he was a senior contributing editor and columnist for Dr. Dobb's Journal, a leading magazine for computer programmers. Al lives with his wife Judy and a menagerie of cats on Florida's Space Coast where he writes by day and plays piano, string bass, and saxophone by night.
 
The following users thanked this post: Neus

Vijaya

Re: How do you write the television, radio or phone voice?
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2019, 01:06:50 AM »
I'd use both italics and indent the whole of the TV/radio excerpt.

I wouldn't do this for overhearing conversations. That's be part of the regular narrative.

Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces, primarily for children
Vijaya Bodach | Personal Blog | Bodach Books
 
The following users thanked this post: Neus

Kristen.s.walker

Re: How do you write the television, radio or phone voice?
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2019, 03:54:55 AM »
I minimize the amount of italics, so I wouldn't use it for phone/radio/TV. I do use it for song lyrics/poetry/letters/psychic communication.
 
The following users thanked this post: Neus

VisitasKeat

  • Short Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 296
  • Thanked: 24 times
  • Following my characters. Wherever they take me.
Re: How do you write the television, radio or phone voice?
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2019, 12:03:59 PM »
A thought for you all... :thinking

I have a rough draft where the protagonist is talking to her friend over phone. It's in italics. During the course of the conversation her friend doesn't listen to a sentence properly. So, she asks the sentence to be repeated. The protagonist shouts out the words. So, I wrote that particular sentence alone in italicized capital letters. I presumed that the reader will appreciate this subtle style.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 12:20:36 PM by VisitasKeat »
https://www.amazon.com/author/roxiepowers

"Whenever you sight a rainbow bridge, remember, my beloveds, there exists a magic mirror."
 
The following users thanked this post: Neus