Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Power Of Observation

Here are the statistics:

By the time we die we will have spent six months waiting in lines.

What a horrible waste! Think of how much you could get done in six months. I could read a handful of books. I could write a novel and outline a second one, and perhaps even craft a few short stories. Six months?! I want that time to be useful!

The good news is that it can be useful.

My challenge to you is to stop the next time you're waiting in a line and observe both the person in front of you and the person behind you. What impression do they make on you? What do they look like? What are their mannerisms? Perhaps they are a car-full of little league soccer players and the neighborhood mother, carpooling them to practice. What is her life like? It's up to you as the writer to make it up! Be inspired.

Jot down these things after you're done waiting in line, or on your smart phone - wherever you keep your notes, and save these sketches for characters down the line. This is a great way to observe people and get realistic characters out of your time waiting for lunch at the fast food restaurant, or even at the supermarket.