Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Opening Your Eyes (and Ears) to Ideas

What did that guy just say?

I lean in and concentrate on the deep voice sitting at the table behind me. He's regaling his friend with a tale of his weekend exploits. I settle in and enjoy the story.

Growing up, my mother lectured me, "don't stare. It's not polite." Well, duh! But I could never get the "don't eavesdrop" portion of the lecture to stick. And, come on, some people talk very loudly. How can I help but listen?

Sorry if I'm offending you, but I'm bombarded with other's cell phone conversations at the grocery store, with booming voices declaring their irritation at the gas station, and with sweet old ladies gossiping next to me in line. I no longer shut my eyes and ears, pretending not to hear. I listen!

For the second cup...
Photo byhamedmasoumi

Dialogue, mannerisms, and character development are key in fiction, so take advantage of all the discussion around you. It's an enlightening experience.

Plus, when you hear other people's stories, you can't help but ask yourself questions about their tales. I wonder why her daughter decided to leave her bum of a husband? His wife spent how much on facials last month? Tsk. Tsk. Poor Madge, it's a crying shame Delroy can't push the lawnmower anymore...

In your Idea Journal, write any interesting quotes or general problems you hear. You never know, that checkout lady might just give you the idea kernel for your next book.

Come back on Friday. We're going to look at a few more ways to attract ideas.


Write Already! It's Wednesday!

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