New York Times Bestselling Author Mary McGarry Morris, whose latest book is Light from a Distant Star.

Today's Write The Book Prompt was inspired by the work of my guest, Mary McGarry Morris, whose latest book, Light from a Distant Star, involves eavesdropping to some extent. Whether she's listening through the walls or peering from a tree house into her neighbor's yard, Nellie Peck is guilty of eavesdropping. She discovers secrets in this way, and sometimes she sees and hears things she later wishes she hadn't seen and heard. Your writing prompt this week is to eavesdrop. Take a seat next to two strangers in a cafe or restaurant, or sit quietly with a pair of old friends, or ... wherever ... and see what people are saying to each other. Unlike similar eavesdropping exercises that we've had on this show, your task this week is not to study dialogue, but to learn how people gossip and tell each other secrets. How do their voices change? How do they protect themselves from seeming small or unkind? Do they use any form of verbal foreshadowing to add tension to the ways they share secrets? Take notes--mentally or on paper--and see if you can use what you learn in your work.

Good luck with this exercise and please listen next week for another.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several former South Burlington High School students).

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