Listening: A Writer’s Tool

people talking art of observationWriters are well aware of the value of observation for giving us the details we need to make our settings come alive, for rounding out our characters by giving them habits or for providing details in our descriptions that help identify them. Today I’d like to take a closer look at a specific form of observation – listening – as apart from merely observing. As writers we can use less obvious aspects of listening to deepen our understanding of our characters and their relationships to each other.

Experts tell us that only 20% (others say 10%) of verbal communication comes from the actual words used. Let’s examine the remaining 80% of face-to-face communication. One obvious benefit of doing this is for writing dialogue. As we listen to, or even participate in conversations, we can observe cues to meaning not contained in the words. The easiest aspects to spot are volume, tone, and pitch, which give us the first clues as to the state of mind of the speaker.  Continue reading “Listening: A Writer’s Tool”

Listen and Learn

"I can't hear you!"

“When did you ever learn anything when you were talking?” – Tom Welsh

It’s 11:24 at night and I’m rewriting my post after reading one by a colleague. Do great minds think alike? Yes, I believe this is true. Moreover, it is entirely possible that the active discussions encouraged here at Indies Unlimited have spurred action for and against certain organizations. Freedom of speech is alive and kicking at Indies Unlimited!

So, what should I write about? That’s easy. Listening, observing, and researching are three skills crucial to personal and professional success. These skills are particularly important to newbie authors as you wade through the white noise around you. If you don’t listen carefully, observe the interactions of peers, and research before you make critical decisions you may find yourself surrounded by naysayers and scam artists.

Newbies have one definite advantage over some tenured writers. Since we don’t know how “it” used to be, we don’t approach every change with fear. We’re open to what’s new because we have no past to draw from. It is an entirely different perspective. Continue reading “Listen and Learn”