The Ark

Whatever floats your boat...

As he polished off the plate of noodles, with relish, he thought he might call his folks before he got too sleepy. So, he dialed his parent's number at their house in Lombard, and his dad picked up the phone.
"Hi, Dad, how are you?"
Stephen Wheeler was glad to hear his son's voice. "I'm fine, son, how was your flight?"
"I'll admit, I have never had a bumpier flight. It was - well really severe. But I'm ok, it seems a couple people got some mild injuries."
"That sounds pretty bad, Joe"
"Well I tell ya, it was amazing. I thought for a while there that we were on a roller coaster, it was that loopy. But the pilot pulled out of it, and we landed just fine. I just don't want another ride like that again" Joe got nervy just thinking about the wild ride in the plane.
His dad was silent for a moment, then asked, "When are you coming home?"
"Should be in a week, the project is not a long one, it just required some personal touch from our end."
"Good - hope your flight is better then" Stephen's voice kind of caught on that.
"So, dad, let me talk to mom for a minute - you don't have to tell her about this, ok?"
"Son."
"Dad?"
"Son, are you really all right?"
"Yeah, I'm fine, just put mom on the phone."
Silence.
"Dad, what's wrong?"
"Son, what date is this?"
"October 25 here, dad, international date line and all. What the hell?"
"What year is it, Joe?"
"Dad, you ok? It's 2005."
Silence.

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Replies to This Discussion

I need to know if the style is too simplistic, the conversation stilted at all, I have to know if this is worth finishing... after 3 years lol.
Heya Sue. I agree with Sedona's suggestions. I also wanted to give a couple of pointers I have heard time and time again. Show, don't tell. One example from the snippet above where it can be improved with this philosophy is this one:
Stephen Wheeler was glad to hear his son's voice. "I'm fine, son, how was your flight?"

Per Sedona's suggestion, if you choose Stephen to be the narrator/POV of the novel, or even short story, then here's a place where his joy of hearing from his son has to be told in how he expresses himself on the phone:
"Joe! It's good to hear from you, son! Its been a while, I was getting concerned about you. Don't worry about me. How was your flight?"

Another tidbit of advice I've heard to help with writing dialogue is to listen to people conversing in public places. See a mother and daughter, or other pair, in line at the coffeeshop and note how often, or not so often, they refer to their familial roles of daughter, mother in casual conversation, etc. Establish once, early, their roles and then you don't need to bring it up much after that point.

I got to the end, and indeed, yes, I was curious to know what's happened to the time! So keep up the work.

OH! What ALSO is especially important: Get the ideas down. Just keep on writing the entire thing before you go back and edit. If you get yourself bogged down in editing minute details and exact dialogue, you'll find it exhausting and may not go forward with the novel. Many writers face that problem. Most of my poems come from sessions where I sit and free-write for fifteen or twenty minutes without stopping. Then, later when I am not emotionally tied to the writing anymore, I go back and cut out the redundant or overly verbose bits, the cliche things, and slim it down into line breaks and meter. The same with novels. Write it all out, then edit.

But like Sedona said, think about the character you want the story to be told from. It will make all the difference and will shape the way you write it. Also, if you want to include various points-of-view of an event, take a look at Faulkner's AS I LAY DYING. Each chapter is from a different character, distinct voice and language and motive.

Good luck!!!

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