Some writers talk about being “people watchers”. I’m more of a “people listener”. Eavesdropping is almost a compulsion with me. I think it is because I find some of my most interesting characters just by listening to out-of-context comments from strangers.
Or maybe I’m just incurably nosy.
For this weekend’s assignment, be an eavesdropper. Listen to the people around you at the gas pump, in parking lots, while waiting in line at the check-out. (Be discreet, please. No staring or stalking.)
Then take those snippets that you overhear and write them down. They don’t have to be verbatim. Write them the way you remember them. Then, describe a character who could have said each one. Who is the person? Why did they say what they said? What kind of personality do they have?
If you can’t get out this weekend, or just can’t force yourself to eavesdrop on others, check out random quotes at Overheard in New York (DISCLAIMER: Be advised, the quotes are from real people, from all walks of life, in all types of situations; some can be offensive.)