Sunday, November 14, 2010

People Watching

Last Week I discussed Janet Evanovich's book
on writing. She said she people watches to
help her create great characters. What she
sees and hears is filed away for her to play with later.

I gave myself a homework assignment.
This week I took several opportunities to
people watch.

I saw a man on a plane who seemed to be upset.
He looked intently around him. If I used
this man as a character I would make him serious
and upset because the day wasn't going his way.

There is a teacher at my school who is sweet and just
happens to sell jewelry. She doesn't bring it up often,
but I could make her a character and play it up.
She would constantly hold up her necklaces or
earrings in front of people in an attempt to sell her products.
"You would look smashing in this $300 turquoise necklace.
Lucky for you, I can get it for $150. "

While in a hotel room, I heard two men arguing next door.
As a writer, my imagination went wild. In a book, the
fight would escalate to violence, perhaps gunshots.

I met a woman on a shuttle bus who had
just spent time with her sister for the last time.
Her sister is dying. This woman had a wonderful
visit and made peace with what is to come. I filed
this away for a time when one of my characters needs
to say goodbye to someone they love.

Today in church I saw an older man who seemed sad.
He could be a grieving widower in a book.
I also saw a man who appeared to be near age forty.
He wore pressed tan slacks with a sweater top.
He kept his hands folded on his lap.
Next to him sat his stylishly dressed family.
If I were to put him in a book, he would be a man who
needs to be in control. He worries about appearances.
Of course, in our books he would encounter a situation
in which he cannot be in control.

People watching is indeed a great way to add to
your mental bank of characters.
Try it!

Until Next Week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon


Wendy_Ely said...


I love people watching but forget to add it to my idea notebook. Thanks for the reminder!

Wendy Ely

Tina LaVon said...

I should add it to my idea notebook too.
Thanks, Wendy!