1. andrewdj

    andrewdj New Member

    Feb 11, 2011
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    News broadcasts

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by andrewdj, Mar 30, 2011.

    I'm having a bit of difficulty in my novel and need some advice/inspiration.

    Early in chapter one, the main character is in his car. He turns the radio on for the travel news, which he has just missed, much to his annoyance, but typifies the morning he's having. Then the hourly news comes on, which isn't relevant in itself, but paints a picture of his routine as he drives to and from work.

    Later in the chapter, he's driving home from work, it mentions him turning the radio on, and the news comes on again. Again the news stories aren't relevant.

    At the beginning of chapter two, he is in his car again, though this time with a passenger. The radio/news makes a third appearance, but this time it will actually contain a local news story that is relevant to the novel and the MC, but it won't be revealed to his passenger or the reader until the end of Act 1.

    So the challenge I'm having is how to include the news in a subtle way that isn't signposted and "obviously" important. I wouldn't have him turn the radio off when he hears the news, or change stations, because I feel this would be a pretty obvious sign to the reader that something is amiss. I'm also debating how to show him listening to the news, do I say:

    "He listened to the news: civil unrest in Africa; an earthquake in Japan; an Actress has died."

    Or do I actually write the broadcast as dialogue, perhaps in italic? Do I mix it up and vary techniques each time the news makes an appearance, or do I keep it consistent?

    Perhaps I need to hunt out some other books where the news is used effectively, both in terms of the storytelling and pushing the storyline forward? Do you have any recommendations?

    As I write this, I've begun to realise that the news will probably make further appearances later in the novel, including the climax, so this is probably a key decision.
  2. Elgaisma

    Elgaisma Contributor Contributor

    Jun 12, 2010
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    Have him think about a news item or shout something a the radio maybe ?
  3. Angharad Denby-Ashe

    Angharad Denby-Ashe New Member

    Jan 5, 2011
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    You could try to distract the reader - say he is driving along thinking about some problem that he is going to have to solve at work, the reader will think the next pages will be dealing with said problem and hopefully wont notice the news broadcast interrupting his thoughts in the background.
  4. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    here are your choices:

    include the text of the news report as dialog, or in a block indent

    refer to what's been said in the news report in the narrative

    the character quotes some of the news aloud, as dialog

    the character paraphrases the news report to himself or another character as dialog

    the character thinks about what he heard in the news report and it's written as thoughts/inner dialog, not spoken dialog
  5. Mr. Blue Dot

    Mr. Blue Dot New Member

    Mar 22, 2011
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    This sounds like a good suggestion. And it doesn't necessarily have to be inner dialog in the third situation either, the passenger and the driver could be discussing the news item.

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