November 19th, 2014

Gredos2

Go Ahead — Write This Story: Overhearing conversations

Listen to people in a mall or at an airport, for example. Take notes. Then analyze them. What is the relationship between speakers? How do you know? What information do they pass? What surprises you? What’s the rhythm? Catchphrases? Persuasion? Conflict? How does each person speak differently? With any luck, you’ll hear ways to make your dialogue more natural and productive for your writing.

You’ll probably get story ideas by eavesdropping, but if not, here are a few. Remember the dialogue.

• This is a dark fantasy story in which a husband asks a friend to seduce his wife so he can have an excuse to divorce her, and the friend suggests conjuring up an incubus instead.

• This is a technological thriller that begins when a researcher reports that a greater number than average of redheads are being born.

• This is a chronicle of the cut-throat competition in the pet business after dogs have been artificially bred to be able to speak.

— Sue Burke