How about forgetting all that “She said…”, “He said…” stuff? There is real power in a piece of prose or poetry where you can “hear” only one side of the conversation.
Yes, yes it is annoying when someone is bellowing into a mobile phone, and you have no idea what the other person is saying (and probably don’t wish to either). But this is different.
Consider this, from Down River. The protagonist of the song has just come out of prison, and has visited his girlfriend. We learn that he’s been incarcerated for three years, and in all that time hasn’t heard from here. Then comes the sledgehammer:
Oh sure, I remember Ben,
We went all through school.
Is that right?
Well, he ain’t no fool.
Hold him tight as you can.
When I played the song to a friend of mine and his girlfriend, she was moved to tears by it.
I tried the same technique myself in a rather more prosaic context, that of containing technical support.
However you use it, the one-sided conversation technique is a prime example of less is more, and show don’t tell.