Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ever had your characters play telephone?

Oh, what a mess things could become if you did. Talk about upping the angst, building conflict.

According to my real life experience, as of 4:00 pm yesterday, the "he said, she said" saga, also known as "playing telephone" around here, can really twist an innocent statement into a hair-raising, defensive back-stabbing retaliation of sorts by the time the twisted message reaches the end of the line.

Until now, I never thought of incorporating this type of scenario in a novel, but I could see it being good for the needed conflict quota and surprisingly, I even think it could provide a dose of humor to an appropriate story if handled with care. What do you think?

Would an unsuspecting, uninitiated game of telephone work well within your story? Do you have a host of characters and a plot with which this could work to reveal character and move the story forward? Are your characters sufficiently vested in something, and have a natural ability to twist things in translation? If you do, this true-to-life unfortunate phenomenon might work for your story.

Think of the prospects for resolution. What an opportunity to reveal growth in your characters, and unconditional love, trust, and understanding too.

Just a thought. Okay, I'll get back to my writing now. Feel free to experiment with a game of telephone in your story, though, if you think it might help lift that sagging middle, glum start, or weak resolution.

Surrendering to Him,



sherrinda said...

I had to smile when I thought of input this into my WIP. Set in medieval times, a "telephone" wouldn't work, but the idea of misunderstood words definitely would. ;)

Eileen Astels Watson said...

LOL, Sherrinda. No, I guess a literal game of telephone wouldn't work for medieval or most historicals, either. But the "he said, she said" in person version certainly would.

Hope you have an awesome day!

Jody Hedlund said...

What a great idea for adding conflict! I'll have to tuck that one away. Thanks for the idea!

Jessica said...

Ooh, I love this method! I try to use it, though not sure I use it to its full potential. I love having the hero say one thing, and the heroine be like, "Are you saying?" LOL

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Hey, Jessica, you're right, it's fun to play with misunderstanding. And depending on the type of character, some ask right away to get it cleared, but others let it stew and eat at them before finding out what they really meant. Great fun!