Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » How could I explain this noise?

   
Author Topic: How could I explain this noise?
benskia
Member
Member # 2422

 - posted      Profile for benskia   Email benskia         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I want a computer to make a small noise to alert its user, who is not currently focused on this particular machine to somee activity.

I dont want to say 'beep'. That sounds a bit childish.

What about 'bip'?

Does that sounds ok?


Posts: 329 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Karloff
Member
Member # 3143

 - posted      Profile for Karloff   Email Karloff         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
pantros
Member
Member # 3237

 - posted      Profile for pantros   Email pantros         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Blip
Boop
Chime
Blee-deep
Pop! Sizzle! - no thats a monitor frying...


Posts: 370 | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
benskia
Member
Member # 2422

 - posted      Profile for benskia   Email benskia         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.


Posts: 329 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Zodiaxe
Member
Member # 3106

 - posted      Profile for Zodiaxe   Email Zodiaxe         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If it is obvious that you have the character's attention focused elsewhere, you can always just say the computer simply "alerted him."

Peace,
Scott


Posts: 80 | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Karloff
Member
Member # 3143

 - posted      Profile for Karloff   Email Karloff         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well don't start the story that way. Start the story with Mark Davis not paying attention to the computer. Then the computer beeps.

"Mark Davis was reading a cheap paperback when the computer beeped."

Or to add spice don't tell us it's a paperback but what kind of novel it is.

"Mark Davis was reading a [SF, fantasy, horror, mystery, porn, western] novel when the computer beeped."

What you choose tells us something about Mr. Davis.


Posts: 20 | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.


Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
krazykiter
Member
Member # 3108

 - posted      Profile for krazykiter   Email krazykiter         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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.


Posts: 195 | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Zodiaxe
Member
Member # 3106

 - posted      Profile for Zodiaxe   Email Zodiaxe         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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... $*&@ !" or "What the %@$# ?"

Peace,
Scott

[This message has been edited by Zodiaxe (edited January 18, 2006).]


Posts: 80 | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
benskia
Member
Member # 2422

 - posted      Profile for benskia   Email benskia         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hmmm.
You may all be right. I'll try taking the emphasis off the noise.

The slight problem I have though, is that Mark is only a very slight character. Indeed, he only has this bit that occurs exactly the same way twice in the book.

So, I kind of put Bip, right at the beginning. Because it's really the Bip that's the star of the show.

Maybe it would work better if I didn't name Mark. And just said..."The astronomer".


Posts: 329 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
nimnix
Member
Member # 2937

 - posted      Profile for nimnix           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
To me, bip seems a little odd. I'm used to reading beep,and computers do beep (and sometimes the beep sequence actually means something).
Posts: 49 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rcorporon
Member
Member # 2879

 - posted      Profile for rcorporon   Email rcorporon         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As a side, this thread is EXACTLY why I love this forum. He started with a simple "What noise word should I use" and you guys have solved his problem, and made his story better in the process!

You guys rock.


Posts: 450 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rcorporon
Member
Member # 2879

 - posted      Profile for rcorporon   Email rcorporon         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Double posted... stupid computer.

[This message has been edited by rcorporon (edited January 18, 2006).]


Posts: 450 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
benskia
Member
Member # 2422

 - posted      Profile for benskia   Email benskia         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yeah.
Cheers folks.

Posts: 329 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"Chirped?"
Posts: 8288 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
AaronAndy
Member
Member # 2763

 - posted      Profile for AaronAndy   Email AaronAndy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Double posted... stupid computer.

Did it beep when you did it?

(Sorry. I couldn't resist)


Posts: 49 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rcorporon
Member
Member # 2879

 - posted      Profile for rcorporon   Email rcorporon         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Actually, it "banged" after I punched it .
Posts: 450 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Clove
Member
Member # 3125

 - posted      Profile for Clove   Email Clove         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I quite like "bip". More than "beep", at least.

I agree that readers won't pay much attention the word that you use, and I also agree that you shouldn't start the story off with the noise straight away.


Posts: 32 | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Valtam2
Member
Member # 3174

 - posted      Profile for Valtam2   Email Valtam2         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like "chimed"
Posts: 50 | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
franc li
Member
Member # 3850

 - posted      Profile for franc li   Email franc li         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
hoptoad
Member
Member # 2145

 - posted      Profile for hoptoad   Email hoptoad         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mine 'mews'.
Posts: 1678 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
'Graff
Member
Member # 2648

 - posted      Profile for 'Graff   Email 'Graff         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mine zornkels loudly.

-----------
Wellington


Posts: 114 | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jaina
Member
Member # 2387

 - posted      Profile for Jaina   Email Jaina         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So close, franc - it's onomatopoeia.

And I really like "moop." I might have to use that in a story somewhere. That is an excellent word.


Posts: 437 | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How about "Ni!"

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.


Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2