1. Whitepaws

    Whitepaws Member

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    Writing techy police procedural type scenes

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Whitepaws, Aug 22, 2019.

    Any idea how to make scenes about researching on a computer interesting? I suppose it’s similar to reviewing evidence in a typical police procedural, only this is using a computer.

    Is it better to establish the computer at the start of the scene and then write ‘normally’ about the character’s findings? Or, is it okay to write in all the clicks....and click click click away?

    And, emails? I have no idea what the conventions are for mobile texts and emails either...set them apart in the text?

    For cellphones, I’ll write, “His phone vibrated in his pocket” - which sounds a bit sexual and no good for a tense scene. So, I’ll change it to: “His phone dinged with a message”. Dinged, really? I delete dinged and replace with...Buzzed? Rang? Rang seems dull. Next thing I know, an hour has passed and my character still hasn’t picked up the message because his creator - me - can’t decide how to handle his cellphone.

    (These minor stylistic descriptions can really slow me down!)

    Finally, are there any authors who are good at incorporating tech equipment into their story, (without it sounding like an info dump or clunky)?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. GrJs

    GrJs Active Member

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    Your phone pings, could be a text, could be an email, depends on if you have your email hooked up to your phone. Chimed is an often used descriptor as well for phones going off.

    As for being on the computer, write about yourself writing that ask and see how exciting you can make it. Otherwise, write it with the intention for it to be mundane or something, whatever your intention in the scene is. I suppose the things your character is researching also adds to whatever atmosphere you're going for. Write it as if your character is reading a book but with a few clicky gestures and stuff.
     
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  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    With something like google searches I usually skim over the actual searching and let the reader fill in the gaps

    Jenn opened a browser on her phone, "That line's from revelations" she said ... its obvious that she's searched for it so you don't need to explicitly say so

    another option is to summarise 'after four tedious hours of clicking his way through the web, bob found that...'

    the difference from police procedurals is that police procedure is interesting because most people aren't familiar with it, nearly everyone knows how online searches work, so describing evrry click and mouse movement will be deeply dull
     
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  4. Whitepaws

    Whitepaws Member

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    True!

    Thank you for that tip!
     
  5. Whitepaws

    Whitepaws Member

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    Good words “going off”...as in

    His phone went off for the millionth time and it wasn’t even noon.
    Thank you!
     
  6. Whitepaws

    Whitepaws Member

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