Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dropping no eaves, here

I try to spend an hour or two every week doing the cafe thing. By this I don't mean socialising with my buds over caffeine and cake, but sitting alone with a flat white (okay, and cake too) and my writing notebook. But I'm very bad at people-watching, and even worse at eavesdropping on their conversations (to develop my ear for dialogue, of course!).

Sometimes there are plenty of people around me talking, but I can't make out what they're saying because of all the background noise. Sometimes those inconsiderate people just aren't talking loudly enough for me to hear (hmmm...maybe I need a hearing aid?).

But most of the time, I live too much inside my own head when I'm sitting on my own.

So I'm thinking, the writers who can create great, believable characters, and can write believable dialogue - they're the ones who'd make good spies and private detectives.

I'm thinking, I should start having coffee with friends for a change.


no milk said...

interestingly, i think that the most 'real' conversations in books are the shortest ones. i had the belabored, long drawn out conversations because i think that stories should not meander too much. writing should be descriptive, have action--not too much talking. best written conversations are onces written with the person's 'voice', so that they sound different from each other. this is the challenge to me. how to make one character sound different from the other such that if i took out the "he said" and "she said" you would still know who is talking.

Nigel Patel said...

I Love people watching and all the Wild Kingdom dynamics of people in "public".
And my subtext meter is pretty sensitive what with years of working with people who speak little English.

Angela said...

I have trouble in coffee houses hearing what people are saying too. The background noise and all the chatter load a blind persons ears up with too much to take everything in. I much prefer a one on one where you know who is talking to whom.
Enjoy your coffee

Harry Potter said...

ok...after a break..I felt like writing comments :)

The amount of ears (eaves) dropping is also a factor of the surface area of the ear lobes and of the curve the ears have.. More the surface area the more the ears can drop.

I suggest you to visit your school teacher, who will pull your ears and increase it size....

Ok...don't look at me like that... I know its a PJ... :(

Determinist said...

Trick - bring along an MP3 player with the ability to record memos and just use it and listen later - that way you can rewind and listen again if you can't make it out the first time.

A cheapo MP3 player will usually have this kind of feature and cost peanuts at dick smith.

Of course, don't make me discourage you from having a coffee with friends!

Violet said...

no milk: I read that, when checking out radio play scripts, they take out the names of the characters - it's how they can tell whether each character has his or her own voice. I like your preference for less talk, more action though, because I find dialogue really hard.

nigel: I reckon it'll be easier to do in the summer when I can sit outdoors and watch passersby. I hope so, anyway.

angela: I can imagine it must be worse when you're blind and have more sensitive hearing.

harry potter: that never happened to me. I was the perfect pupil ;-)

determinist: So I'm gonna have to buy an mp3 player huh? It's probably worth a try though. I could leave it in some dark corner and forget about it while I have coffee with friends!

Determinist said...

Violet - I have an MP3 player laying around that can do it - say the word and you can borrow it for as long as you like. At least that way, you can see if it works and if you want to bother with one at all.

Violet said...

determinist: nice of you to offer. I'll say yes, but you'll have to give me lessons - though if you give it to the boy to pass on to me, I suppose he can do that. Thanks!