The three steps. Read. Watch. Listen.

Last week I advised you to observe, attend. In other words, pay attention. Watch interactions and behavior. This week I advise you to listen. Listening is, of course, a larger part of attending.

A real writer listens to the way people talk. Inflection. Slang. Dialect. Language. (Each language has its own rhythm and cadence.) Actually that’s one of the reasons I pick up foreign languages. I hear the underlying rhythm of the language. Understanding rhythm and cadence allows for the language of science fiction, for example, to flow seamlessly.

Why should you listen? To hear secrets? No. Rather, to understand how human beings, and animals for that matter, communicate. This is learning to write realistic dialogue, step one.

Listen to the way real people talk to each other. Listening will make you a better writer.

Next time: Body language. Oh yeah! This is my fave!

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juliabarrett

I am an author of fiction and nonfiction.