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Exercise #171 : Telephone

We have a few ongoing things going on here at 52 Weeks of Wordage, and before I continue with the exercise, I'm just going to alert anyone who might not have seen the posts.
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  2. Weekly contest, "Make It Up Monday!" Submit by Thursday at 5pm to be featured on my blog on Friday!
  3. Ask me anything you want to know about my writing, my life, my creative process, etc... The sky's the limit!
Now for the exercise... 
 How does your character answer the telephone? What does her voice sound like? How does she hold the telephone? (Or does she use an ear-clip, or does she prefer the speaker phone?) What does she typically say? When she goes out of town, what is the message she leaves on her answering machine? How does she feel about the telephone? What does her ring tone sound like? Where is her telephone? How many telephones does she have? Who does she call? How much does she spend every month (and can she afford it?) 

Make up as and answer as many questions as you can about her telephone use. In your last 30 seconds, go back and notate the three most telling things.

I will be completing this exercise with the use of one of my characters from my current "Work In Progress" (WIP - see tab above for excerpts and character profiles), Natalie Hansley.

1,2,3, GO!!!

This is kind of what it'd look like,
I think.
 First things first, Natalie lives in the not quite near but also not quite distant future, and phones have become obsolete technology. Instead, they have what is called a portable VidScreen system. A small necklace that she wears works as a projector that displays either a written message or a video call. If one does not feel like he or she looks presentable for a VidScreen conversation, he or she has the option to "mute" his or her camera, thus rendering the caller blind. I haven't quite figured out all of the mechanics of this device, but that's the basic idea...

That being said, let's begin!

Natalie is all politeness on the phone. When not at her house (where her butler would answer it), she answers the phone formally. "Hello, this is Natalie Hansley. May I ask who is calling?" It's a trait that was passed down to her by her father. Her voice is calm and easy, not too loud, but also not quiet enough to be lost over the transmission or any sounds going on behind her.

Being that her VidScreen is always on her person, she doesn't really have to set up a vacation message, but her normal message, should she find herself unable to answer, is simple and brief: "You've reached Natalie Hansley's message unit. Please leave a message with your name and number, and I will call you back at my earliest convenience."

In general, Natalie is indifferent to her phone. She would find it slightly unsettling to be without it for a long period of time because of possible emergencies that might arise, but she's not overly attached to it like most people are.

Her ringtone is probably the most unexpected part of her phone. As a joke an old classmate of hers (she has since graduated) uploaded a contemporary piece of music comparable to something by Ludacris or Eminem, and, deciding that she actually liked the beat, she never changed it to a piece of music more "appropriate" for a girl of her high status. Needless to say, she gets quite a few odd looks thrown her way when she receives a call. She doesn't normally call people except for  her family, but she is called on a regular basis by the few friends she has.

Natalie's father pays all of the bills, and she has been relying on his financial support all of her life even though she would be fine without his help. She most likely wouldn't choose to pay the amount of money that her father does for the family VidScreen account not because she couldn't afford it but because she would see it as ostentatious and unnecessary.


And that's that. What did you come up with?


P.S. I'm considering adding a bi-weekly or monthly vlog to 52 Weeks... Your thoughts? Best idea ever? Worst? It's a completely undeveloped idea as of right now, because I don't even have guidance as far as topic goes, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Ah, fledgling projects, how I love thee.


bashypoo said…
Heyyy, My name is Bash and here’s my poetry blog, My Melancholy Poetry Gallery, Don’t be intimidated by the title, haha.

Okay here goes.

Yenny only owns one phone, a landline with an answering machine. It’s a cheap old dial-tone phone that matches everything else in her apartment. She screens all her calls since she doesn’t have caller ID. If the caller bothers leaving a message and it’s someone important, she’ll call them back 2 minutes later and pretend that she couldn’t answer the phone. If it’s someone from her family or a close friend, she’ll answer the phone, although she’ll take her time to do so. She will answer with a laid back “Hey, I’m here. What’s up?” Her answering machine message consists of a very simple: “Hey, you’ve reached Yenny. Leave a message after the tone.” When she’s talking on the phone, she has her arms crossed and holds the receiver to her ear with a lazy wrist. When she goes out of town, it doesn’t occur to her to change the message on her machine. Her ring tone is a classic high-pitched “ringgg- ringgg”. Her telephone bill is combined with her internet and together they come up to about 80$/month and she can afford it thanks to the tips from her week-end bartending job.
Right, so I'm MM (Andrea, if you must know) I've got a blog about nothing in particular. I post often and like adding a bit of South African colour from time to time - and boy! We're colourful! I like reading other blogs.

Phone lady:
Angie has a deep, husky voice, and is often incorrectly identified as a man when she speaks on the phone.

She has a ten-year-old cell phone with a basic 'Brr-Brr' ring tone. If she happens to hear it, she invariably has to scrabble for it in the bottom of her bag, so she hasn't got time to check caller ID.

'Hello' she says with a cautious lilt in her voice - rather like the one you'd use if some unidentifiable person was knocking on the door.

She hardly ever buys air time and never checks her messages, so when callers who know her well get the standard voice mail message, they send an email (or even a snail mail) instead.

She will live happily ever after with a bill of about five US dollars per month.

The end

** Any (.. er.. all) similarities between Angie and MM are wholly co-incidental.
Diandra said…
Concerning vlogs - I don't like them. Mostly because I mainly read "my" blogs while I'm at work, between translations, and of course I can't watch videos there. When I am home, I do not use the internet often (except for occasions like this, when I am avoiding mandatory cleaning and decontaminating), therefore I would hardly ever watch them.

And someday I'll actually try your exercises.
Anonymous said…
every vlog i've followed in the past, i just got sick of. philly d, shane dawson, and ray william, and those guys are a big thing in youtubeland. i got tired of listening to them talk. it's funny, the word verifications for blogger comments are a lot easier to pronounce than other ones i've come across. not sure if anyone else has noticed...
Letty said…
Oh wow, i loved doing this, i used it as an excuse to invent and entirely new character, which i haven't done in forever!

Del is down on her luck at the moment; her landline has been cut off. when her mobile broke a few months ago she couldn’t afford to replace it, so the only time she really uses the phone is when she is at work. She answers the phone with an aggressive ‘what?’ Clutching the phone under her chin whilst she scribbles down orders. During working hours the siren call of the old- fashioned handset triggers a battle of wills to see who can ignore the shrill ringing longest, Del is almost invariably the first to cave. When left alone to lock up, she racks up quite an extensive bill calling her boyfriend who is working overseas. Although she thankfully doesn’t foot the charges, she does worry about what her boss will do when he works out why his bill is so high.

as for the vlog or not to vlog question, I say go for it! everyone loves a bit of video goodness.

Harlen Anne said…
The woman's voice answered slowly with a flat voice that floated like blues music over even bluer smoke. I could imagine her standing in a basic t-shirt over slightly tight blue denim blue jeans and the phone cradled in her small, white hands. It's basic wireless design lets her move around the room with her tightly controlled strides that keeps the old injury from being obvious. My practical, compassionate love's voice lifted as she realized I wasn't a telemarketer, or someone talking about her college work. She says with warm humor, "I'm only popular on this phone when I owe money, but at least I'm popular."
CarrieMarie said…
brain is currently mush, so am going to pass on the writing, but wanted to vote YAY to the vlog idea. : ) quick snippets introducing key pieces, or topics, something like that.

happy writing!
Not writing, will attempt soon... :) excuse me please about that

To answer your question about vlog, try it out if it works it works, if it doesn't, it looks like there's a lot to do in the world of 52 weeks...

Topics - you could start with a writing exercise? say exercise 180 can be a vlog?
A.K.A. Humidity said…
Your first question was directed at us, How does your character answer the telephone?I try and make others laugh. and your second question, What does her voice sound like? Well judging by the rest I read she sound Wealthy yet not spoiled, she might sound like a CEO of a company, This next question is oneof the most telling, How does she hold the telephone? that tells a lot of a persons charater, She might use a head set of somekind, she is not above using her hand but it would bore her because her hands would not be free, (Or does she use an ear-clip, or does she prefer the speaker phone?)I see her using both the ear-clip and speaker phone,and I would be as bold to say others answer the phone for her and if she wished or thinks that it is impotant enough she will let the call be patched through. The second important question to me,What does she typically say? Well I already see her as a "Formal Lady" Very well educated, She is one to Elaborate every detail, She Emboldens everyone around her,She is an Engarer. She is Distinct and showes Distinction at the same time. I last most important question to me, When she goes out of town, what is the message she leaves on her answering machine? She does not have a machine, her phones reather at home or in her company ring someone is there to answer and only if it is someone she wished to speak with or someone important enough then the call is patched through to her. "How does she feel about the telephone?" When she is working it is apart of her she need it. but if she take a week off there will be no phone in reach she would devote all of her time to the one she loves the only time she can realy is then. What does her ring tone sound like? She has a regular work ring tone and mostlikely that song "I'm a barbe girl and barbe world" ring tong on her play phone for the ones that she loves. Where is her telephone? Where is her phone? I don't know where it is but it is not far away unless she is with her lover then it is nowhere. How many telephones does she have? she has 2 one work the other personal. Who does she call? Everyone she has to call, and anyone she wants to call, How much does she spend every month (and can she afford it?) I would say she comes from a family of wealth but wealth that is earned so she has respect for the companies money and her own money since she is the CEO then her Father or Mother would be the president of the compant, Meaning she had to prove herself so I would say she has total access to the companies money for company perposes, and the money she earns some is saved the rest she papers and grooms herself not only to set a good image for the company but to also be look great for the one she loves. and a Question you did not ask, is "Who does she Love?" I would say someone that took the thime to know her as a person not an object with lotts of money, but a that truely makes her laugh and smile he is ambition and is strong of heart, when they are along they are both ambient! The hide nothing from one another. the only thing they regret is the time they spend apart, when it's her birthday he would send her something small like a birthday card, she would read it and then turn it over and see that it will say "Hallmark" bring a smile to her face, because what can you give a lady that has everything, the man that she love would know the answer to that question and the the answer is a "Smile."
CadillaC said…
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nice blog :D
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CadillaC said…
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greet :D
First: shameless plug:

Evie snatched up her Blackberry, punched the button, and grunted into the receiver, "What?" Her normally pleasant voice, more a melodic whisper than anything, was harsh and angry, bordering on whiskey-grunge. The phone was propped onto her shoulder, with her neck at an unnatural and, frankly, frightening position.
She heard the beep of the call-waiting while waiting for her stunned sister on the other end to respond. She didn't bother to move the phone from her ear, her arms wrapped around bags and books threatening to drop, knowing that her generic voicemail message would pick up: "This is you know who. Do you know what. I'll return the favor."
Most of the time, Evie was enamored with her smart phone. Today, was not one of those days. Her dozen or so classical ringtones usually sang her into a smile, Bach and Wagner via ornamental, electronic tones. Today, she would like to throw the expensive and valued device into the river.
Guy Duperreault said…
Exercise #171

Don't you realize that the phone is just a tool?! Jasmine wanted to scream at the handsome man playing rosary with his crackberry. 'It's a tool, fool, and like all tools it has its place and purpose,' she muttered into her wine glass before emptying it. And this is neither its time or place, she thought, as she reached across the table for the bottle of French Pinot Noir. She emptied it into her glass in spite of her motherly inner voice's warning, because she was curious if her deliberately heavy handed clinking of glass against glass would register with her date. Her blind, thank you very much for nothing sister, Blackberry addicted blind un-date date. But he didn't seem to notice it, or if he did he gave no sign of having heard it. 'He?' What is his name, she thought. Alden? Allen? Elton? No matter.

Jasmine heard him speaking words, ostensibly for her edification as it was about his oh so important work. But she had stopped concentrating on what he was saying and the words weren't connecting to her meaningfully through the muted rumble of the busy restaurant noises.

After slowly half-emptying her glass, she decided to join the modern age of connected public impoliteness to spite him. She reached into her purse, pulled out the dated cell phone and turned it on. 'Oh,' she heard him say when the phone chimed cheerfully its state of being turned on, 'I see you have a call. If it's important, please take it. I won't mind.' Jasmine couldn't be quite sure, but it seemed to her that he had at best kind of lifted his head towards her when he'd said that, but his eyes had remained fixated on his phone's screen.

'Hello,' she said to the phone. 'No, my name is not 'Stulte.' Nor is it 'Asinus.' She stood, picked up her wine glass, and carefully poured it onto his phone before walking out. His squawking could be heard on the street, where she quickly dialed her sister. "Hey,' she said to Arden, 'you punked me, didn't you?! Bitch!' Arden's laughter brought a smile to Jasmine's face, as it always does.

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