People Watching

I’m starting to think about characters…..people, for my A-Z Challenge which starts tomorrow *gulp*

Everyday most of us come into contact with other people. We live with them, work with them and think about them when they’re not there. Some we like, others we cant bare the sight of!. Meeting new people can be fun, but for a writer, it can be a facinating 🙂

In real life, when you meet a new person you learn a lot about them in the first few seconds. That’s the crucial moment when you form opinions and judgements. You base those on the way they walk, how they sit, if they’re smiling or what they’re wearing. You try to figure out what they’re thinking by their facial expressions. Even small details like the smell of tobacco or a stain on their tie will influence your opinion.

Then there are their gestures. The way they look over their glasses, the way they throw back their hair or constantly play with a ring on their finger.

Characters need to be real, as real as you and I 😉 They’ll have faults, bad habits, talents and tastes. They will have complex personalities, and all of it needs to come across in our stories, if we want our characters to delight our readers.

F Scott Fitzgerald said “Plot is character and character is plot.” I rest my case 😉

So people watching is a great idea when you need inspiration for characters. A cafe, park, restaurant, even a waiting room can have me scribbling away in my note book 😉

Do you people watch? Do you use what youve seen in your stories?

Try describing a friend or family member (they never need to see it). Its great fun and you can use certain aspects to create a fictious character 😉

The photo above is The Bookcrossers meeting the Hen Night Bunnies….. dont ask lol 😉

Yesterdays prompt about the backseat turned into a story about a young woman who arrives home to find that the birthday cake she had just bought is gone and in its place is a bag of money and a gun…..not sure where thats going yet lol. Todays prompt is the antidote to pain. That sounds very interesting 😉

22 thoughts on “People Watching

  1. Your story of the money and gun in exchange for cake sounds like a great opening for a suspense. What does she do next? I’m always using the people around me for fodder, even something like the way they handle their cell can say so much.


    • Thanks Joan…..yeah, I really need to have a think about where it’s going don’t I 😉

      It’s funny isn’t it, you don’t really notice little things like that normally, but when you’re a writer you notice everything 🙂



  2. I enjoy people watching when I have the opportunity. You are right. You watch, listen and form judgments. Characters come to mind. I’ve been lucky to have met a lot of characters from work, watching or life in general. I worked with a man who was once an avid bike rider, but had since lost touch with those glory days of muscles. He drove an old bluish green car with all kinds of political ring wing slogans, and would sometimes wear a kilt to work. Why? I don’t know. You’re right. As a writer, we are interested in meeting the most intriguing or quirky people. Great post! I wish you luck with your challenge!


  3. I think it is useful to try to remember little bits, or more I suppose, about people you come into contact with that can be used in writing characters. But then I also think you can pinch things from characters on TV. Obviously you have to be careful there so as not to pinch a complete character, but both I find useful.

    Best of luck with the challenge although as some smart whatsit once said, the harder you work, the more luck you will have (or something along those lines).


  4. Oh gawd!! The first impressions I give!!!!!
    They can also be so misleading as well. I saw a guy in Apple the other day and the impression he gave was, well.. Quite frankly, as bad as it gets! But then the general theme was that everyone was being kept waiting for a very long time and patients was wearing very thin for most people. So maybe he had got to the end of his!!! Is that any excuse to be so rude?
    My first impressions tend to be unfriendly and frosty. Something I’m trying to improve on :o).


  5. I try to make a habit out of watching people as much as I make a habit out of reading character interactions in great detail. The reason for this is that, if you base your writing inspiration too much on real life, what happens is that your style becomes far too “mundane”. You wind up writing interactions that become too natural and actually a little boring. It’s why it’s important to keep reading fiction with great character interaction.

    The best kind of character interaction happens when a clearly staged action or lines of dialogue do feel like they could have happened in real life. You could read Mario Puzo to get some good pointers on that.


  6. Pingback: How to get Ideas « TeenGirlsthatWrite

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