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Phyllis Smallman: You say "eavesdropping," I say "writing"

Listen up, says this Unhanged Arthur winner: the best dialogue comes from real people.

"Writing is a craft. And like any skill, it needs to be honed—everyday if you can. Write in the small bits of time. When you’re in waiting in a coffee shop, at the dentist’s office, or hockey practice, pull out pen and paper and write a quick character sketch of someone in the room. At the hairdresser’s, in a bar or restaurant, write out the snippets of conversations you hear around you. It will give you a great feel for real dialogue. Save all these little bits of descriptions and dialogue and mine them for gold and inspiration.You’ll be surprised how much of it you’ll use."

Phyllis Smallman’s Margarita Nights won the CWC’s inaugural Unhanged Arthur. Good Morning America picked the Sherri Travis mysteries for summer reading and Zoomer Magazine chose Champagne For Buzzards, the fourth book in the series, as a cottage read for 2011. Smallman divides her time between a beach in Florida and Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.

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