Masters tales

How do you write a two-way radio dialogue?

So I am working on a story and I need my character – a mountain rescuer – to talk to his boss on the two-way in his back pocket. I’ve already got dialogue in the story so the use of “-” doesn’t make it different enough. So do I bold it or CAPITALISE it or italic it. Which looks like a crackling voice over the radio?

Capitalising is out – it just looks like EVERYONE IS SHOUTING.

To bold or not to bold, that is the question. But I think it’s more of an emphasis on a point or maybe a title.

Which leaves italics and I think this will work…

This is an extract which shows my solution:

“We took them. The damn parents had decided to leave them, like in the sodding movie, Home Alone.”

“Jesus,” Cal said.


“Right, this makes things complicated,” Frank said. “When did the kids go missing?”

“This morning,” Gerry said quietly and shuffled in his seat.

They all jumped as Cal’s radio hissed and crackled into the room. “Sorry.” He walked out trying to get a better signal.

Finally, Cal?


We’ve made it down to the nine daughters and there are signs that someone’s fallen in.


That’s our thought. Better let the parents know it is touch and go.

“They aren’t the parents.”


“Turns out they’re two kids who snatched them because they’d been left. They’ve given false names…”

Yeah I wondered about Smith and Jones. Okay, well find out anything you can. We’re going down but if they fell from here…

“I know there isn’t much that can be done.”

Hey… We only find them…

Cal sighed, “Okay. Over and out.” He didn’t know why people came here. They were probably hiding. Trying to give the kids a new start or a taste of family life. Good intentions, the route to bad consequences. Still, he understood their theory. If the family had left them then who would notice if they were at home alone or having a holiday in Ireland. Turning to go back into the pub he just wished they hadn’t picked Ballybunion. As he walked in Frank was moving out.

“You leaving them?” Cal asked.

“Yeah,” Frank said, “where are they going to go? They’re both wracked with guilt. Any sign of the girls?”

“It doesn’t look good. The captain says there are signs they were around the nine daughters.”

Frank winced. He lived here and the nine daughter’s hole gave him the creeps. Every windy day the whole place would cry. It sounded like a woman trapped. “Do they think they went down?”

“Possibly.” Cal shivered. “I’m going to get my coat and then I’ll go out and join the others. Missing kids in this weather is not good. At least we’ve found some sign but I don’t know….”

2 thoughts on “How do you write a two-way radio dialogue?

  1. Hey, just a technicality, “over and out” isn’t what they say on radios 🙂 “over” means it’s your turn to speak, “out” means I’m not listening any more, so saying “over and out” means “it’s your go, but hahah I’m not listening!” which is rude 😉 to end they’d just say “out”, honest. In other news, it’s cool to find another dyslexic writer. Sal.

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