Thursday, April 26, 2012
W is for WATCHING
In any given day, the opportunities to observe human behavior are endless. At schools, in the workplace, on the street, in the parks, malls, and airports, the steady stream of humanity gives writers a world-wide laboratory of characters to observe and experiment with while crafting stories.
Clothing choice, mannerisms, speech, and physical characteristics reveal so much about people. 'Every person you meet is a lesson in human nature,' wrote Fred White, in his daily writing meditations book, The Daily Writer. Even environment affects how people behave. Someone at a Fourth of July parade will act differently than if that same person is standing up as best man at a friend's wedding (hopefully!).
One reason I substitute teach is so I can be around kids (helpful if you write for kids, yes?). How they play, what they talk, laugh, and complain about, and the things that excite them and what bores them - this is great material for character development. Sometimes I want to sit down and write in the middle of a class period or recess duty because of what I see and hear!
People-watching is brain food for writers; your observations will nourish your stories' characters.