Thursday, September 25, 2008

Power Outage, Hot-Water Heat, and Dialogue

Hot-water heating systems have a nice advantage over electric baseboard heat: they can't overheat and start fires. They're at a disadvantage with forced-air systems because if you install a hot-water system you'll have to do a separate setup of ducts and so on for A/C--or use window units. There are cost differences, too, but those can change overnight. Still, considering the fact that hot-water systems store heat ...

I experienced a secondary advantage of the hot-water system storing heat when the six-day power outage hit: we had hot water for showers for five days. Wonderful!

And during the power outage (here's the transition to dialogue) I spent nearly all my time reading, mainly by candlelight. I read two Elizabeth George novels that I highly recommend: With No One as Witness and What Came Before He Shot Her. The books over decent writing, good storytelling, and an interesting relationship. What Came Before He Shot Her is a sequel of sorts to With No One as Witness in that it tells the story behind the murder in With No One As Witness, from the viewpoint of the murderer.

In the preceding message I noted that I had a problem with George's dialogue technique. I also have some difficulty as a reader with her phonetic presentation of dialect. As in "I know what yer talkin' 'bout--dat's not de problem. (As with the preceding message examples, this is not direct from either of the books.) One approach to showing characters speaking in dialect is to use just a few lines of phonetic dialect the first time they show up. After that, the reader "hears" the dialect every time the character is on the stage.

Another approach goes like this. "I'm not the kind of person you're talking about," he said, dropping the g at the end of talking, and saying 'bout rather than about, as was the way of the neighborhood.

To use phonetic dialogue over and over and over and over is beating the reader over the head wid it (excuse me: with it). The technique really wowed Mark Twain's readers, but today having to plod through phonetic spelling really slows down the reader.
Copyright © 2008, Michael A. Banks

1 comment:

Retha Lanza said...

This shows that, the Solar water heater is a very good way of helping people save money, educate them on other way that houses and buildings can be heated, and provide hot water without have to use gas.