From John August – on how to write dialogue :

We tend to think of dialogue as a tennis volley, with the subject being hit back and forth between speakers. But when you really listen, you realize that people talk over each other constantly, and rarely finish a complete thought.
To get a sense of this flow, you need to stop paying attention to the actual words being spoken. It’s the auditory equivalent of un-focusing your eyes. Listen for which speaker is dominating the conversation, and how often the other party chimes in to acknowledge he’s still paying attention.

How often should you eavesdrop? Pretty much constantly, with particular focus on finding interesting speakers. Some people are inherently funny, and if you soak up enough of their rhythms you can recreate them on the page fairly faithfully. But even the annoying woman ahead of you at the checkout line deserves a listen. You never know when she might come in handy.

Worth reading the whole thing…

Posted 11 years ago by John Piscitello

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