I don’t purposely set out to eavesdrop, but some people talk so loud you can’t help but hear them. so what do you do with that? Make them a character. That makes it even.
And the things we overhear. . . way too much information for a restaurant conversation that half the world can hear. I always wonder if it ever crossed people’s mind that maybe a restaurant is not the best place to discuss some topics.
How can we utilize the things we hear in our writing?
*Listen for common expressions. Developing character specific dialogue makes our writing stronger. Character’s have vocabulary that they often use that is unique to them.
* Guesstimate Education Level. Listen carefully to the words one of the people uses for education level. Sometimes we forget to incorporate that in our dialogue, but a person’s education level impacts their dialogue. Try to guess how educated the individual is based on their dialogue. It’s great practice.
*Guess Occupation. Each person sees the world differently based on their own personal experiences and interests. See if you can guess a persons interests and occupation based on what they are saying.
*Identify Comment Length. Many writers have their characters talk in long paragraphs. Listen to how long the people speak at one time. Use this new found knowledge to guide you as to your character’s dialogue length.
*Create An Imaginary Plot. Based on the conversation you hear, create an imaginary plot that these people might be living if they were characters on a page. Let your creativity run wild. You may or may not come up with a plot that you want to use in the future, but either way it develops your brainstorming skills.
*Listen For A Story. Story ideas can be found in all kinds of places. You just might hear something that sparks a story idea for a book.
How do you utilize the conversations you hear by accident to fuel your creativity?