Field Trip!

The best way to learn about how to write dialogue effectively, is to go out and observe dialogue in it’s natural habitat! Your mission is to go out into the school and eavesdrop in on a conversation. Listen to the conversation for about 10 minutes, record the content and your observations.  Make your notes as specific as possible as we will be debriefing as a class upon your return.

Happy Creeping!

Discuss the dialogue that you overhead:

1. Talk about the process of eavesdropping:

i. Where did you go?
ii. How long did you listen to conversation?
iii. Who was it between?
iv. How did it feel to be recording the conversation?

2. What insights did you gain about the way people speak?

3. How can you apply this to your writing?

4. How is personality and character revealed through conversation/dialogue?

5. What happens when more than two people participate in a conversation?

6. What was the most surprising thing you’ve learned about the way people converse?

7. What are the differences and similarities between written and spoken conversations?


Finished assignment = 350 words. Post it here in the comments, and on your blog.

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9 thoughts on “Field Trip!

  1. 1. I went into the caf to listen in on the conversations. I listened for the majority of the 20 minutes. There were 2 big groups who's conversations I was listening to.

    2. I learnt that teenagers don't really have filters and say whatever comes to their mind especially when they're talking with their friends. I also noticed there is usually a “leader” who is the one who's brings up the topics and talks the most.

    3. I can apply this if I was ever writing about teens, that way it would be easy to right about, also because I am a teen.

    4. You can figure out who is more of a listener and more quiet. Also who really likes to talk and have attention on them.

    5. Either there are many opinions in the conversation because there are so many people, or not a lot because the others are just listening.

    6. That many people don't have a filter and that really makes the conversation a lot more interesting. Also how quickly the topic can change.

    7. Written conversations are more thought out and usually have a certain direction. Spoken conversations and sometimes just to fill the quiet so they can be about anything and not really have a purpose. But written and spoken conversations can both have a meaning you just may arrive at it in a different way.

  2. 1. Eves dropping is easy, you just sit beside someone and pretend not to listen but you're actually paying attention like there's no tomorrow.
    For my eves dropping, I went into the cafeteria and sat behind a group of people. The conversation was all over the place and between everyone at the table, some payed attention, others were just on their phones and could care less about what was going on around them.
    It felt really strange to sit and record the convo, it only felt weird because the conversations were pointless and empty words thrown at anyone.

    2.After eves dropping it made me think, if these conversations are about nothing it made me think, what if someone eves drop on my conversations with friends, what do they think, does the conversation flow smoothly, does it jump all over the place, does it have a nice base, is everyone participating.
    Because what I was listening to, had none of that.

    3. This can be applied to my writing by thinking about the base of a story, or whatever I am writing. To make a story, or tell sometime these bad to be a solid point to it.

    4.personalities and characteristics of a person are shown though conversations by their body language, and how interested they seem in a convo even if they're doing minimal talking.

    5. When more than two people participate in a conversation, I think that no one even finishes where they were going with their story because someone will interrupt and move on to a new subject. As we'll as when there is more than 2 people in a conversation not everyone tends to participate.

    6. I didn't really learn anything because I knew that some people don't pay attention to conversations, and others say whatever they have on heir mind. I wasn't surprised by anything.

    7. Difference between spoken and written conversations is that when it's written you can take it anyway you want, you don't hear the tone or voice that it was written in or know how it's supposed to sound, when you're in a real life conversation that is happening right I front of you, you know how you should take it in because you hear the tone and language.
    Similarities are that you can choose your words and express yourself in a way that only you're capable of, because you are your own person.

  3. 1) i) To the band room
    ii) It took about 15 minutes.
    iii) It was between Megan L, Micayla, Ryan, Mr. Johnson, and me.
    iv) It was quite interesting. Definitely felt a little creepy at times, but since I was involved in the conversation as well, it wasn't too awkward.

    2) I learned that there are many people who are very expressive with their hands.

    3) Using action words while using dialogue gives the reader a more realistic thought of how the conversation may be going.

    4) The way people approach a subject and the amount of respect within the speaker's voice can determine their personality. People who may listen more than talk could either be shy or just very curious and a good listener. People who use nicknames rather than full names could mean that they are close to the ones they are talking to, or they're comfortable enough around the person they are talking to.

    5) When there are more than two people in a conversation, I find that the conversation seems to last longer. Because there are more opinions to fly around, there's more to talk about. At the same time there are more interruptions as well because everyone wants to get their opinion out before the subject changes.

    6) I learned that when talking to someone of a higher status than you, you tend to be more cautious of what you say. Rather than just speaking out whatever's on your mind, you would think it through quickly before spitting the words out. What's surprising is that that rule doesn't always apply. Some people feel comfortable around people of a higher status that they either don't care of the consequences, or they know that there won be any.

    7) With written conversations, it's difficult to portray emotions, such as sarcasm, sadness, etc. Although possible, people tend to only hear emotions through people they know well enough within text. Talking to a stranger and having them sarcastically write down something to you would be different than a friend doing so. Spoken conversations are easier to express your tone and emotions.

  4. 1. We went to the second floor front windows and sat near 2 people talking, we listened for over a good minute and it was between a guy and a girl. It felt a little weird writing down someone's conversation.

    2.
    In this case we didn't really get anything good out of it expect for the fact and teenager make no sense when they talk.

    3.
    If I was creating a comedy i could use the way they talked because it was all nonsense.

    4.
    Character and personality can be revealed through conversation by the way they talk, the things they talk about.

    5.
    When more than two people are in a conversation it ends up getting really tangled and very confusing because so many people are talking at once it's hard to keep up.

    6. Again for the people we eavesdropped on they talked so unorganized and random that I learned that teenagers talk about really random things with no flow, also they had phones so they probably weren't even listening very well.

    7.
    A big difference between written conversations and spoken convos is that with a writen one it will generally be very fluent and on topic as were with spoken real life convos they usually are all over the place since we have so many distractions.

  5. 1) We walked around the halls and found a group of people. We sat down near them pretending to do something else and copied down what they were saying.
    – we went by a window on the 2nd floor facing the front of the school
    – we listened to them talk for a solid 14 or so minutes
    – the conversation was between a boy and girl in grade 12
    – it felt weird listening in on people I found it mostly hilarious and I was laughing at times

    2)the insights I gained about the way people speak is people get distracted or off topic very easily and end up making their conversations random and pointless

    3) I can apply this to my writing by having my characters or dialogue make sense rather be completely random like the conversation I was listening to was

    4)personality was revealed through their conversation because they were speaking to each other like they were good friends and always seemed focused on the other person when they were talking. Laughing when something was funny ect…

    5)I'm not sure but I can only imagine it could either be a conversation that stays on topic or becomes a mess of random garbage

    6) most surprising thing I found was conversations end instantly because they we attached to their phones more than holding a conversation with their friend

    7)differences between the two are in written you can take time to think about how you want people to interact and speak while spoken if mainly off the top of your head. Similarities between the two both require people to display their emotions or feelings on the topic being talked about

  6. 1. I went to the stairwell in the power mech hallway there was a few people there hiding like usual. I listened to the conversation for around 7 minutes because it was not very interesting.
    The conversation was between a male and a female. It seemed like they were a couple in an argument. I felt like I was invading their privacy because it sounded as if they were arguing about something important. I wouldn't appreciate a person listening into one of my private conversations.
    2. I learnt that what people say out loud is sometimes not what they truly mean. They “beat around the bush” a lot. One person usually talks more than the other. In a teenage conversation there is a lot of swearing.
    3. I can apply this to my writing by having one person usually the “main character” talk more than the other person. The other person would probably be a listener, and only throw their two cents in every once in awhile to show their still paying attention.
    4. Depending on the conversation if someone is talking about something sad the person listening would show their character by giving them a hug or from the things they choose to say.
    5. When more than two people are in a conversation it is difficult to keep track of. Usually there are mini conversations inside a big conversation as well. Someone may say something that leads to something completely different and it gets confusing.
    6. I was surprised at how rude people can be. Maybe to an outsider it sounds rude but to the people in the conversation it is not. I was surprised at how off track conversations get. There are multiple conversations going on in one large conversation.
    7. Spoken conversations are more choppy and off topic. Written stories are more structured. Nobody wants to read a story with characters saying random things it makes them bored. In a spoken conversation nobody else is usually listening for a purpose so you can say anything even if it is off topic.

  7. 1. i- I went to different places trying to find a conversation that was flowing so I would be able to take notes of it. After going to the gym, the resource and different hallways I ended up iat one window close to the stairs.
    ii- I listened to the conversation for about 8-10 minutes
    iii- It was between mainly two girls and a guy that were probably 16 years old, but some teachers became involved at one point.
    iv- It was weird in the begining but it became funnier during the recording.

    2. I realized that some people don't care about the way thei talki to different people. I think there are some people in our lives that need more respect than others, like seniors and even teachers, but some people, especially teenagers, don't care about it.

    3. I can apply it to a specific type of character in my writing. It was good to open my eyes about the relationship between people's behavior and the way they talk

    4. Since the first phrases that people say a lot, we can already have some guess about ehat their personalitiy is like. especially teenagers. In my case, I had a guess about the personalities of all the three students who I was listening to and they proved to be what I thought they were like during the conversation.

    5. Depends of the type of people. In my case, the conversation was being interrupted every time by laughs or by the start of a different topic in the middle of the other.

    6. Listening to people I could see that sometimes they talk too much but don't say anything, because they don't finish an idea, they just start another topic in the middle of another.

    7. Similarities are the slangs and the words that people use. You can define someone's personality in your writing by using different kinds of words and you can also define someone's personality by the words that this person uses Some differences are the tone that people put in their voices that we can't put on our writing and sometimes is very important for the understanding of an idea.

  8. For the eavesdropping assignment, a group of us went to the band room. We are pretty familiar with the band teachers so it wasn't too out of place that we were there. The conversation lasted for about 15 minutes between the four of us and the teacher. Micayla had been recording out teacher while I observed body posture and language. Morally, it felt wrong to be recording this conversation. Our teacher is a very trusting person, but on the flip side it made me feel like a secret agent. The conversation made me realize that certain teachers treat some of their students like friends. Te way he spoke was very casual and his posture was relaxed. It really just depends on the kind if relationship you have with them. Our conversation involved talking about the amount of grade eights that we're coming up to play in the jazz band, and the general worry about if it would be enough.
    If I were writing a short story this assignment would give me insight as to how a dialogue would work between a teacher and a student in a story. At most, anyone can determine the chatacter of a person by the way they act when you are speaking to them. Shifting eyes, interruptions, different topics, body language, etc. Personally, I believe that when someone is keeping eye contact, has their focus on you, and is genuinely listening instead of thinking of the next thing they're going to say is the sign of a good conversationalist.
    When more than two people are involved in a conversation, I find that more often than not it results in multiple ideas being said at once without a real base of the conversation. That doesn't go for everyone, or all the time; it is just much easier to talk with someone one on one to stay on topic. I've found that it doesn't really matter what age you are, if you're respectful and willing to actually e invested in a conversation, people will trust you. That overall has been the most surprising to me and it's become more apparent to me over the last year.
    Depending on who you're speaking to, spoken conversation can be either really formal or really chill. When you're writing something or texting I find that people care more about what you think if there is no punctuation. If I am writing an email to a teacher, everything has to be perfect. Correct punctuation or who knows what they'll think of me. In person, I am the complete opposite.
    Everyone is very different in the way they speak to people they know and don't know.

  9. I was at the dentist today sitting in the waiting room as I waited to be called up, minding my own business when I heard the two front desk ladies talking. I was listening to their conversation quitely for about 20minutes until I was called up. At first I was hesitant at recording their conversation because they switched there topics pretty quickly but I did catch on as the time went by.

    Depending on the topic that they're talking about and how they feel about the topic, their emotions are expressed in their conversation. If people have any disagreements with what they are discussing, the tone of there voices changes and so does the volume.

    I can apply this to my writing by using what I observed as a guild line to write my very own dialogue. Dialogue expresses some many personalities as each person continues to converse. You can tell how they feel about certain things when they express their opinions and the way that the tone of their voice changes.

    When more than two people are involved in the conversation, the topic expands and the varieties of opinions sway. The conversation either gets complicated or someone ends up feeling left out.

    The thing that surprised me the most was even if people didn't agree with what someone has to say they still pretend to agree with them even though their facial expression and tone of there voice says otherwise.

    I think the differences between written and spoken conversations is that written conversations are much harder to interpret due to how you have to imagine how certain things they said are discussed. As opposed to spoken conversations, you can tell right away because of their facial expression and the tone of their voice. Though they do share one thing in common and that is, both need tone in able to express one's personality.

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