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Watch How People Talk

Image Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

Image Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

“Watch How People Talk” by Joan Y. Edwards

First blog post in a my “Watch” Series

Have you ever noticed how people talk? Do the heads move when the mouth moves? Do the eyes up or down when they are talking? Are the hands still, or moving rapidly as the words come out?

One person may talk out of the right side of his mouth. Another may talk out of the left side of his mouth. A bell ringer may bellow like you can’t hear them unless they do. A little old lady might whisper so low you can’t hear her in a noisy crowded room.

I watched a western movie today and the star of the show barely opened his mouth to speak. It was as though the director told him, “Do not open your mouth to talk. There are a gazillion flies around here and one may go in. Don’t open your mouth to talk.”

I found a video showing two guys trying to talk with their mouths shut: lapajoe –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1-QR3qdqV8

Is he a ventriloquist and talk and make it sound like the voice is coming from somewhere else?

Nina Conti, Ventriloquist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mF81Ns4cp4

Give your characters a special way to talk, it might make it easier for a reader to visualize a picture of them.

Does he lisp?

Does she stutter?

Look at yourself in the mirror and write 3 sentences to describe what your mouth does when you talk. How does talking influence your eyes? What about your hands?

Here are videos of other people talking: Watch their mouths, their eyes, and their hands. Make notes for the characters in the story you’re writing. Enjoy:

  1. Barry Schwartz, psychologist: http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_our_loss_of_wisdom.html
  2. Joyce Meyer, Christian author and speaker: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qh_7GGF5qs
  3. Bob Proctor, Motivational speaker, psychologist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRLvxbuJtW8
  4. Jim Cramer, author: http://www.us.penguingroup.com/static/pages/multimedia/index.html#vmix_media_id=168951411
  5. Helena Bonham Carter, actress: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLkvDRPEKaY
  6. Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker: http://www.independent.ie/videos/entertainment/forest-whitaker-and-oprah-winfrey-talk-on-screen-chemistry-29756625.html

Here is a link to the second blog post in my Watch series: “Watch the Hands of People When They Talk:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/watch-the-hands-of-people-when-they-talk/

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards


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12 Responses

  1. Joan,
    Showing how someone talks is probably not as developed in my story characters as it could be. I am more likely to show the character’s mannerisms as they talk. I will definitely keep this in mind. Good points! Thank you. I could imagine leaning in to hear the little old lady and letting the cowboy know that I couldn’t understand what he was saying. Of course I’d watch to see if any flies flew in. Funny!


    • Dear Linda,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you describe mannerisms as your character’s talk. I’m glad that my description of the little old lady made you want to lean in to hear her and wondered if any flies actually got in the cowboy’s mouth. Glad you got my humor!

      Celebrate you and your writing


  2. Thanks again. You keep me alert!


    • Dear Mona,
      Thank you so much for writing. I’m glad that I make you more aware and alert. It’s fun to watch for different actions and reactions in people. They don’t even have to know.

      Celebrate you and your writing!


  3. thanks. good things to observe in others and think about when developing characters.


    • Dear Carol,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you think these are good things to observe in others and think about when developing characters.

      Celebrate you and your writing.


  4. OMGosh – I just read an article (in an old Writer’s Digest) about BODY LANGUAGE – you are so right!! I revised a piece of work because of that. As usual, Joan – you are just a fountain of information – and we are so luck to have you!!


    • Dear Claire,
      Thank you for writing. You are right. Body langage shows a bunch of a character’s emotions. If we can capture them in our minds and translate them and put them into our stories, we will do great. Our readers will reap the benefits. Celebrate you.
      Thanks for the compliment!


  5. Dialogue, monologue and speech patterns are such an important component of writing! Thanks for an intriguing look into the world of speech….


    • Dear Maureen,
      Thanks for writing. You are right, dialogue, monologue, and speech patterns are an important component of writing. I’m glad you enjoyed looking into the world of speech in my blog. I hope you listened to the ventriloquist one. It is hilarious.

      Celebrate you.


  6. Okay, now I’m going to start observing others and making notes. It’s these subtle things that make characters interesting. Thanks Joan. Great post as usual.


    • Dear Sandra,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad my post inspired you to observe others and make notes. You’re right, subtle things make your characters interesting.

      Celebrate you!
      Joan Y. Edwards


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