Most people are downright fascinating. Their speech patterns and mannerisms, especially when discussing things they’re passionate about, make for great study. This is precisely why some writers love to sit in cafés, bars, and restaurants as quiet observers with a notebook and pencil in hand.   photo-4

Good dialogue is the way people actually talk, not the way books tell you we talk. Listen to the word choice, the cadence, the changing tones, and hesitations. Watch for body movements, quirky ticks, and facial expressions. When you least expect it, someone will say something absolutely amazing, and these quotes can pave the way for great ideas to flow. Some gems I collected over the years:

“I’m not a safe person to know if you crave mental health.”
–K.B., said with a large spoon in one hand and a giant bowl of popcorn in the other

“Sometimes you have to call bullshit for what it is: Bullshit.”
–S.B., after a long day at work

“A nice, soothing game of checkers turned into a wild game of hockey as the night neared its end.”
–S.T.E, in college

“Prepare yourselves.”
–H., in Jerusalem

“Not bad for Armitrons.”
–total stranger

So grab your notebook and head to the nearest clean, well-lighted place. There’s work to be done!


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