1. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Eavedroppers, did you do it before writing or start after?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by SeverinR, Jan 9, 2012.

    I have always paid attention to conversations around me, I never knew why, except that it can be really fun trying to figure out why a person said what I heard.


    Then in the military, I was in the Security police, so listening was encouraged.

    Now, I do it, noticing how people talk, what they talk about, and how they say it.

    The one famous line of a song written by an eves dropper;
    "...And then they tased her again." He wrote the whole song based on that one statement.


    So did you listen to others before becoming a writer or after, or don't you do it know?

    I don't know how anyone can write good dialog without listening in on others, so if you don't listen in, how do you write dialog?
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I started after I picked up writing. I even recently started watching people in places like cafées and similar and write down a description of the interesting ones, their gestures, looks, clothing etc in my little notebook. I should probably do the same with places. I'm not very confident with my skills in descriptions so I hope this will be helpful.
    BUT my dialogue writing skills doesn't come from listening to people. I just never had major problems with them, and I think I am pretty good in writing them ;) I just hear the very dialogue in my head and never found it hard to make it credible. Sometimes I'm actually amazed by how bad some published writers are in writing good dialogue. it all sounds so... fake.
     
  3. Immy
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    Immy Member

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    I've never intentionally eaves dropped but I think I will now :D My dialouge could be better.
     
  4. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I did it before and after. But I never do it on purpose. Some people just talk loud.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Most of us have dialogues with people and KNOW what they sound like, you only have to make the dialogue sound true to the characters and to do that you need to get to know him/her well enough and have a good imagination. And I don't think real life dialogue is a good thing to copy, there is way to much unnecessary fluff and people take forever to get to the point and they use slang and other words that aren't exactly ideal to put in books and they distract themselves from the topic etc etc. i do agree though that you can sometimes get ideas for stories or plot points by listening to people arguing or discussing certain topics and that is how I would use eavesdropping :)
     
  6. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    I've always eavesdropped- I must have good hearing, as I always pick up chatter my husband doesnt notice! I just find it fun, and since I started writing it does gives me ideas. There's one line I heard from someone's conversation that really intrigued me, it's silly and a bit rude but I might try to write a little tale around it some time.

    I bloody loved New York for the tightly packed tables in restaurants, I heard some fantastic conversations there.

    And I don't feel too bad about doing it, as I know I've provided some eavesdropping entertainment myself on occasion :p
     
  7. Metus
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    Metus Senior Member

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    I haven't really eavesdropped. . . usually. I've been catching myself doing it the last few days, and I've been considering writing down peoples' conversations as reference material.
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    My hearing sucks, especially in loud places, so eavesdropping is difficult for me. Advice? Like, just listen to the loudest words I can hear and peice it together? xD
     
  9. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    How true.

    I listen to loud conversations sometimes but I don't consider it eaves dropping since they are talking so loud. Since I started writing I'm inclined to write down witty or plan stupid things people say. Especially if it reminds me of one of my characters. So be careful how loud you say something stupid, it might end up in a book. :)
     
  10. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm an avid people watcher now. It's not really anything to do with writing, but it does help me figure out dialogue, too.
    I've always been good at hearing. I can sit in my room on one side of the house and I can hear people talking on the other side of the house. It always used to freak my brother and Dad out; they'd talk about me and I'd loudly say, "I heard that."

    I intentionally eavesdrop, though. I don't think there's particularly anything wrong with it. I don't use the information against anyone. Really I only use it for my own good. I like to make sure I know what's going on.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've always been a people-watcher/noticer... overhearing people's conversations is not the same as eavesdropping... one is inadvertant, the other done on purpose...
     
  12. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    I don't usually eavesdrop - in fact I'm often oblivious of my surroundings. I've been told I write dialogue well, though.

    It's hard to say where this skill comes from. I guess mainly from conversations I've been a part of. I'm also a very auditory/verbal person in general, so often my first impression of a scene is basically a couple of talking heads having an interesting conversation while floating in a featureless vacuum. I add the actions later - I used to just write the dialogue without any action or description, back when I was a newbie writer. I tend to get into my characters' voices and talk as them, for example I'll start giving an impassioned rant as one character speaking to another. I'll also take stuff I've read, both fiction and nonfiction, to draw my conversations from. And since I'm a psychology student, lately I've started reading research articles on features of discourse and language use.
     

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