Eavesdrop and Take Notes

Photo Credit: Frank Selmo (frankselmo on Flickr)

I’m always looking for inspiration for my next short story, novel, blog post, characters, setting, etc. While my dreams provide the foundation for many stories, some of them are a little too out there to mold into anything useful. I’ll be the first to admit my muse and I don’t always get along. There are times when we don’t talk, but if I’m going to take this writing thing seriously, which I do, I can’t go around making excuses.

“We value results, not excuses.”

So, what can you do when you’re fresh out of ideas and your muse is on vacation? Eavesdrop and take notes. I know as kids we’re taught listening in on other people’s conversation is rude, but I’m not convinced it applies to writers. After all, are we not tasked with observing the world around us and capturing it with words?

And while you’re noting story ideas, plot twist, dialect, key phrases, or potential conflict, go ahead and note how people interact. What are their hands doing while they speak/listen? How do facial expressions change? How are they sitting (leaning close/away or a combo)? How much eye contact is going on? Are people standing? If so, how are their bodies positioned? Straight? Angled? Weight shifted to one leg?

Observe and take notes. Just don’t let them catch you doing it. 🙂

Where do you find inspiration for your work? Have you ever eavesdropped? Do you take notes? Anything from your ‘field study’ you’d like to share?

13 comments on “Eavesdrop and Take Notes

  1. lbdiamond says:

    I find inspiration in the strangest things. Hearing coversations is a good one.

  2. Such good advice! And I find people watching very interesting. But you’re right – it’s best not to get caught doing it lest people think you’re a creepy stalker 🙂

  3. carrieabutler says:

    Glad I’m not the only creeper around here. 😉

  4. Inspiration strikes at the strangest times. I even got the idea for the opening scene of a story from a short clip on AFV once. Seriously. Now I just need a plot to go with it. 😛

    Nothing wrong with people-watching. 😉

  5. […] Eavesdrop and Take Notes (writesbymoonlight.wordpress.com) […]

  6. beeseeker says:

    Wrote a piece once while in the States, just of snatches I heard while on tour – I have to find it – and post it now I have read this. Thanks … but hey, first I have to find it 😀

  7. […] then read a blog piece called “eavesdropping” https://writesbymoonlight.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/eavesdrop-and-take-notes/ and was inspired – or kicked up the undercarriage – enough to find it […]

  8. Hello again, thanks for the inspiration: found it, remembered a lot of the context in which it was written and have posted it http://beeseeker.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=488&action=edit&message=6&postpost=v2
    It includes a link to your blog here – hope you don’t mind. If you need me to – get n touch I will delete it – no offence intended – hope none taken.

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