Conversations Can Be Your Muse & Aaron Goldman: Day 28 of Project 365

Aaron Goldman

Communicate unto the other person that which you would want him to communicate unto you if your positions were reversed.” – Aaron Goldman

Think about the last couple conversations you had.

By recalling your past conversations – and they can be every day conversations or something unique and interesting – you can use the daily interactions as a muse for your own scenes. Oftentimes our scenes fall flat because our characters simply say what they want and then they either get it or they don’t.

But real life never works that way.

Even in the most normal, boring of days, our lives are peppered with motivations – our own and others around us – that turn plain conversation into a lyrical dance of give and take. Maybe you convinced a friend to eat at one of your favorite restaurants. Or somehow you found yourself stopping by the store to pick up bread for your significant other.

When considering your own experiences to enrich your writing, there is a little exercise you can do to record what happened and turn it into a blueprint for use in any storyline.

1. First, set the stage. Did you spend the majority of your time listening or speaking? Did you sit forward in eager interest or did their eyes glaze over in boredom? What about your conversational partner? How long did you expect the conversation to last?

2. Establish the purpose & method of the conversation. Now think about how you or the other person brought up the conversation’s purpose. Were you blunt or did you introduce it subtly? Was it pre-planned or did you speak up at the spur of the moment? How did the other person react? Did you use any props or setting to help you get your way?

3. Note what concluded afterwards (and be honest with yourself!). Did you get what you wanted? Do you think the other person got what they wanted? How did the conversation make you feel? How long did it end up lasting?

Lastly, I’d like to make a note that I am not recommending copying straight dialogue from real-life conversations and pasting it into your story. Dialogue is very tricky to get right in writing, and will be worth its own post (or several) in the future.

Take some notes a couple of times in a week and store it in a small notebook where you might otherwise keep ideas and inspirations that keep you going when you feel stuck. See if you notice anything really interesting! Something you write down now might really come in handy when you are trying to figure out that problematic scene in several years from now.

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2 thoughts on “Conversations Can Be Your Muse & Aaron Goldman: Day 28 of Project 365

  1. Pingback: Use Your Brain & Napoleon Hill: Day 29 of Project 365 « Writer's Code

  2. I’ve got an all day meeting this month with individuals whose perspectives I may or may not share. Your post has a novel approach to improve my listening skills and perhaps even enjoy hearing their arguments. Thanks!

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