Posted by: victanguera | September 2, 2011

Eavesdropping (for Research): Writing Prompt #351

I’ve got a horrible tendency to listen in on random conversations. Just for research, you know. You never know what weird pieces of conversation will spark a story idea. “Can you believe that Cindy just called Bob and told him that…” Oops, that’s my coffee. Told him what? Okay, never mind, I’ll just make something up. And it will probably be much more interesting anyhow. With cell phones everywhere, it is so much easier to eavesdrop without recrimination.

So for today’s prompt, what random overheard pieces of conversation have you heard that give you interesting ideas for a story?



  1. I’ve been thinking about eavesdropping a lot recently because I changed the POV chracter of my WIP, and there are some conversations in the first draft that wouldn’t happen if she was there (she’s just a kid). But she’s the daughter of a detective, so I have the idea she’ll do some investigating herself, looking for clues, listening to conversations she shouldn’t, because she wants to be a detective, too.

    • So are you using the girl for the POV? From what you’ve said about her, this would make for a great perspective. Maybe a bit unreliable, but those are often the best narrators.

  2. Well, I’m not doing first person, but mostly third person from her perceptions. There has been one chapter so far that was from someboy’s POV, and there will probably be a few more of those.

    • How tight is your third person POV? Even though you aren’t using 1st person POV, you can still wind up with a slight sense of unreliability if your perspective is fairly tight. I’d be interested to know. Perspective can change how a story unfolds.

  3. I have four peple reading as I go along, and one thing they’re watching for is if I slip out of the third person limited. Which I do from time to time, from force of habit.

    I think my POV character is reliable in terms of facts, but of course there are things she doesn’t understand, and she has her prejudices. One character is an alcoholic, and she dismisses him as a useless drunk.

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