Girls Write Out
Monday, October 23, 2006

How good of a listener are you? Come on, I mean, really?

Consider this. You go to a restaurant with a friend. You’re having this wonderful meal of, oh, I don’t know, lasagna, breadsticks, salad, and of course without a doubt, chocolate cheesecake. (It’s a daydream—no calorie limit, okay?)

Your friend might be sharing bits of information about the weather or discussing how good the lasagna is, but suddenly you find yourself “in the zone”. You know what I’m talking about. It’s where all the noise around you starts to fade and suddenly your writerly antenna is on the prowl. Picture teensy UFO flitting from table to table in search of interesting conversation.

At one table a wife tells how her toddler slurped water from the toilet, but thankfully it was clean. Okie-dokie then.

Antenna moves on. Here a teenager is like, all excited, because she like, met this guy . . . .

At another table women discuss the latest shoes (I think Kristin was leading that discussion).

Then you strike gold! Fourth table down on the right side of the room, a man says to his wife, “It’s as though he had to find out he was dying to learn how to live.”

And suddenly, four bites into your lasagna and one breadstick later, you’re off and running. Your friend’s lips are moving, but you don’t hear a thing, because by now you’re onto the second plot point of your next book. It’s not something you’ve planned, but there it is.

Been there, done that? Tell us about it. Where did your latest plot spark come from? The grocery? A restaurant? Movie? Joke? Passing comment?

Stories are all around us. Be on the lookout today. You just might find a book waiting to happen . . . .
Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:33 AM  
  Comments (13)
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At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Christy said...

Hi Diann!
I'm getting ready to National Novel Writing month and my plot revolved around the discussion my sister and I had about our middle names. That discussion led to my main characters and the whole back story. Funny isn't it?

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Hey, Christy!! Good for you! One discussion and next thing you know, a book!!! How fun is that?! You go, girl!

At 9:54 AM, Blogger allen said...

Just this Sunday Pastor Greg said something that clicked in my head and I had to sketch out an image that came to me...(often I'll get a visual first and then write about it)...most often my plots develop in my studio or when I'm just about to fall asleep. I never jot down the ideas if I'm about to sleep...I figure that if it's a good enough idea, I'll remember it. If it wasn't a good great loss.

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Tina said...

Every time I get around my mom and her four sisters, ideas pour forth. These ladies, all over fifty, unknowingly offer inspiration. The best times are during Christmas family reunions when they manage to plan, host, and emcee (yes all of them)a family gathering for rarely less than one hundred of us. And the amazing thing is that we all know each other;the family is that big... great material, always tweaked for fiction of course.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

Funny, I just wrote an article on writing for a Christian drama magazine, and I included a restaurant scene similar to that. LOL The article dealt with needing other writers to connect to, since our friends can't relate to us. That "zone" isn't in their ken. :o)

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

Yesterday, I was at Peet's coffee across from Stanford and I heard this Dad practically SHOUTING all these "Learning" things to his two year old, shoving books in the toddler's face -- who just wanted to run all over the coffee shop. I thought, there is an entire book in Palo Alto parenting. It's hysterical! He's TWO dude, we can save the pythagorean theorem until he's out of diapers.

At 4:27 PM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...

So true! I'm in Pennsylvania right now, far away from my beloved California...and the stories here are plentiful. Such a different way of life here compared to what my fam is used to...really opens up the mind, ya know?

At 4:24 AM, Blogger Camy Tang said...

I must be a bad writer, because I totally do NOT eavesdrop.

I'm serious! Don't laugh!

Most of my ideas come from when I'm talking with a friend over lasagna and breadsticks and something truly magnificent comes out of her mouth and I scream, "Can I steal that???"


At 7:47 AM, Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

I'm a little with Camy... focus on the food... but I do eavesdrop (honey, did you hear what they ordered?)

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Good point, Camy! I love how the ideas can come from anywhere--a blurb on TV, a commercial, a comment, a song. Adventures are waiting everywhere! :-)

At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear some fascinating stuff sometimes. My husband and I were sitting in a restaurant and I had to use the 'loo' (I was VERY pregnant). While I was in there, I flushed the toilet with my foot (can't remember why-must have been easier to lift a foot than bend over with a big, round baby belly).
I mentioned it to Bob and he said he does that all the time. Uses toilet paper to open the stall door, etc.
So together we imagined a person totally paranoid of touching anything and how they would maneuver around a public restroom.
Bob stepped away for a moment and I glanced around the dining room and noticed this man who looked like he would be this character. I showed Bob and he agreed so we talked even more about this character and his quirks.
Anyway, it was funny and I wrote all the details down to use at some point. :)

At 3:42 PM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Hey, Audra, your character sounds like Monk. Have you ever seen that TV series? He's a detective who is totally paranoid of any kind of germs. :-) Too funny!

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen the commercials, but I never watched it. I may have to rent it from Netflix. :)


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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