Careful, or you’ll end up in my next novel

Careful, or you’ll end up in my next novel

I saw this on a t-shirt and laughed hard because it’s true.

I can’t speak to what other writers do but I’m always eavesdropping on conversations out in the world. I don’t really try that hard to do it and I don’t go out of my way to listen in on other people’s conversations. It just happens.

When I was a journalist, back when the police scanners weren’t encrypted, the scanners were a constant white noise in the newsroom. There were certain words and phrases that would instantly cut through the noise like when a police officer was in a bad situation or there was a murder. There was also something to be said for the tone of people talking on the scanners. When an officer was chasing a bad guy, you could hear him or her breathlessly shouting out directions to the dispatcher. That’s when you knew something was up.

Listening in on people’s conversations is the same. I don’t know why some folks feel the need to air their dirty laundry in public, loudly talking on their phones, but I see it happening more frequently. Instead of getting irritated about it, I pull out the notes app on my phone and jot down anything that tickles my fancy.

  • Bits of dialogue and a turn of phrase
  • Ideas for (fictional) crimes
  • Descriptions of what people are wearing or how they carry themselves

Many of these tidbits have already made their way into my Flamingo Cove series and the two screenplays I wrote in 2020.

Because let’s face it, life is stranger than fiction.

Dawn Dugle is a romance writer and the author of the Flamingo Cove Series