Monday, January 30, 2012

Ring Tones and Novel Writing

With CLOCKWORK GENIE already on virtual stands and book shelves, and REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST about to join it in the next few weeks, it's time to start working on another novel.

The next novel, which I am planning to do a pseudo-NANOWRIMO through the month of February, will be a Young Adult fantasy which I've had sitting on the shelf for several years and have decided now was the time to dust it off and make it ring.

Speaking of making the story ring, can someone explain to me the use and necessity of ring tones?

In my story a cellular phone plays an important roll (does anyone call them cell phones anymore, or are they all smart phones.)I've been thinking about what ring tones my lead teenager would program into her phone. The more I thought about it, I began to wonder what would be the point.

Why do people have ring tones? Why purchase a song to play when someone calls?

I have had a cell phone (three or four) over the last 15 years, and have always set them to silent or vibrate. Never saw a purpose to have the ringer on.

You want to know when someone is calling you, that's for certain, but how many of us like to hear when other peoples phones start ringing.

If we're fast enough, we usually can answer the phone just before the third ring, so why do people want to extend those rings by turning them into songs?

Have you ever noticed that when someone has a musical ring tone, the longer it plays the harder they have in shutting it off and it usually becomes a real embarrassment?

While in the movie theater there is always that slide that comes up repeatedly to remind you to turn off the your phones, or worse that audio clip where every sound in the theater is amplified with every possible phone or noise that could be made.

Recently the Muppets did a very nice version of this before their movie.

Why is this even something we have to think about any more? People's phones ringing loudly and long, in the theatre, middle of church, a business meeting, or dinner.

Yes, some can hear the buzzer of my phone. Usually when it vibrates through the table or desk. But it's usually low enough it doesn't bother anyone. But I do turn it off in the theater.

The other day I was watching a rerun episode of THE MENTALIST, and there was major mistake with the use of a cell phone. The lead of the show has just broken into someone's home. Only a few feet inside the house, his phone rings. His phone rings. This was not done for comic effect. You'd think that if you were going to break into a house and not want anyone to know you were there, you'd turn the phone off or have it on vibrate. The Folly Department can just as easily drop in a Buzzing sound as it does a ring tone. Other than receiving important information about the B Plot, the use of the phone in the house had no purpose. A woman nearly catches our lead in the house, but not because of the ring tone.

So my question is a serious one, and is research for my novel. How many people actually have audible ring tones? How many have simple ringers, and how many have longer songs?

I'm probably going to ask my teenage niece about this. She is a Young Adult after all.

My next question to her will probably be: Do you actually use your phone, or is it mostly used for texting and facebook? I don't want to write cliché teenagers in my story, but the phones have become an integral part of their lives.

I may have been rambling here, but in doing so I find that this is all very important to my novel. Not only are cell phones important to the story, but also so is being annoyed by the ring tones.

This has been great talking, thank you for all the help. I appreciate – RING RING – Excuse me, gotta go answer that.

(Oh, like you didn't see that joke coming from the start of this blog.)

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cellphones have largely replaced landlines and are not always on your person therefore having an audible ringtone is necessary.

Personalized ringtones serve to distinguish your phone from other people's phones. If you remember the 90s when everyone checked their phone the minute one of them rang. They are also an additional way of customizing a phone which you should realize is a very big deal. Self expression doesn't always have a "point" but if you are talking about teenagers its very important.

Finally, no one calls their phones "smart phones" in conversation. Ever. If the information you are getting for your book only comes from TV advertisements you may want to pick a different topic.