What does the noise sound like? If it's a "beep" then say, "The computer beeped." Readers caught up in astory don't notice the words -- unless their really bad.
Posts: 20 | Registered: Jan 2006
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Heh heh - thanks Pantros. Some nice noises to choose from there.
Karloff yep, I think you're right in most cases. The trouble is, my story starts with the noise. So its stands out like a sore thumb:
Bip. Mark Davis peered over the top of his paperback at the computer terminal. A green spot blinked on and off in the centre of the screen, calling his attention to one of the graphically depicted radio telescopes.
Don't start the story with a stand alone noise anyway. That's what your instincts are really telling you here. It doesn't matter what noise you end up choosing, it will stick out like a sore thumb if you put it by itself in the first line.
Also, don't call it a "computer", there are probably a lot of computers there. This computer is being used as a terminal specifically for monitering a number of radio telescopes.
I don't think the particular word you use is all that important. How you handle it is the question.
If the computer itself is roughly equivalent to today's desktops or laptops, let it beep. That's what people expect. Then let your character's reaction (or lack thereof) tell us the importance of the beep.
Now if it's some futuristic machine where the kind of noise it makes is somehow important to the plot, then start casting about for a different term.
Here's the practical me speaking as a veteran of a good many stakeouts. If Mark is in front of a computer that is supposedly watching or monitoring something then shouldn't he be paying attention?
I know jobs can be tedious and at times estremely boring, but one has to pay attention to what they are doing. On stakeouts, I day dreamed, read a book or quietly drumed my fingers in time as I whispered the words to my favorite songs. So, in other words, why have the computer make any sound at all, maybe he just looks up from time and time and now he happens to look up and it is alerting him to something.
I visualized him kicking back, reading the book and pausing to laugh, shake his head in disbelief or whatever and suddenly seeing the computer blinking a message or something, then its like... "Oh... $*&@ !" or "What the %@$# ?"
[This message has been edited by Zodiaxe (edited January 18, 2006).]
You could do it from the "POV" of the computer system that makes the alert. Properly done, that's always fun (unfortunately, it's usually done very poorly, so if you don't know a lot about how computers do what they do, then ignore that suggestion).
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999
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I thought of "chirp" also. Though re-reading the scene, "ping" also could work. I don't think "bip" is any better than "boop". If you want to get into strict onomatapoeia (sp?) there's "moop" or "geep" or "bomp".
Posts: 366 | Registered: Sep 2006
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Just to let you all know, this was suggested by "~tapoeia/topoeia, topiary, shrubbery, Jason the Shrubber." It has nothing whatever to do with the topic, though it would be pretty funny if someone configured this computer to use "Ni!" as the alert chime. In fact, they could have created an entire "Holy Grail" sound scheme. That would lend a lot of character to the story right there.