Monday, July 26, 2010
Let's Have Dialogue
Have you ever gotten a story or article idea from a conversation you've had? Or from an exchange that you overheard? Real life chatter offers oodles of creative potential for our writing. When you are running dry on ideas, this might be the place to look, with a healthy dose of kindness and discretion, of course.
Not only do I keep my imagination on high alert when conversing, I listen to accents. Born in Lancaster, PA, I am familiar with the dialect and sound of that area, which reflects a Pennsylvania Dutch flavor. Raised in southern New Jersey, my ears are used to the Philadelphia/New York City combo that influences many South Jersey residents' speech. I can often pinpoint a Delaware and Baltimore area resident, and of course, those from the southern regions of the U.S. Sprinkle in my husband's background - from the Chicago area, and friends from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Boston, and Ohio, to name a few, and there's a pretty good sampling of accents that I hear regularly.
I think my sensitivity to this was heightened when we moved from New Jersey to Kentucky. There's a mix of accents here, and I listen to try and determine if people are native to the area. Accent detective? Maybe. Or maybe it's just that I like considering where people come from and what shaped their patterns of speech. This dovetails with my curiosity about what their lives and past are like and what kinds of stories they have to tell.
What can this do for my writing? The results are not all in. :) But I do know that it helps shape characters, story lines, and deepen creativity. It provides book, article, and blog post ideas. It is an endless treasure chest of potential.
What about you? Do interesting conversations give you writing ideas? Have you ever considered what an accent can tell you about a person? Please share!