Have you ever wondered where people come from? Have you ever seen someone on the street, in the mall or sitting in a restaurant and wondered what their story is?
All the time.
And do you know what I do? I make something up. I give them a name and an identity and build a story in my mind to describe who they might be. It’s fun. Really, it is! I have even sat in a coffee shop and made up the dialogue occurring across the restaurant from me. It can be quite entertaining.
Observe the world around you
Watching people like that could be seen by some as creepy, or weird. I don’t think so. People watching never gets old.
There is so much going on around us if we just looked. If we observed the people around us we could learn so much more. Sure, we look around but do we see?
Sherlock Holmes constantly tells his friend Dr. Watson, “You have looked but you have not seen.” Watson sees a man with a dirty coat, Holmes sees a man who trudged through a back garden the previous evening after the short rain shower.
Imagine what you could learn
How much better would we understand and know the people around us if we actually observed? If we looked around and trained ourselves to notice the little things, like a dirty coat, or a clenching hand, or a tapping foot?
Imagine how many more hints and bits of foreshadowing you could pick up while you’re reading. Imagine how much more complex and intricate your characters would be in your writing.
Go ahead, give people-watching a try! See what you learn.