Penelope FletcherI’m not much for giving advice to other writers, however, as I develop my next book I’ve fallen into a comforting habit I find remarkably useful in bringing characters to life. And if your not a writer its simply fun if you have nothing to do. People watching. I consider it unofficial anthropology, a beloved study of my fellow man. This is how I breathe life into my characters, and how I make their reactions, body movement and expressions real in the most unreal of situations.

People are fascinating. We’re forever multiplying, changing, striving to do better. Everyday interactions and conversations can be twisted by the mind of a writer to create a character readers connect with, because in essence what you’ve crafted is a mishmash of genuine individuals. The best lies are rooted in truth, and that is what we writers are, magical liars.

Ask yourself, do you remember someone who was amiable? Or do you remember the person who frayed your nerves, and made you wish you knew kung fu?

Characters should create an emotional response from a reader, even if its hate. Hate is good, hate is powerful. Hate means your character was real enough to inspire an emotion! Have a cup of tea to celebrate your genius. Most advise to add a funny quirk (like biting of the lips) to give a character depth. I say give your character an unbalanced temperament. No average person is balanced *narrows eyes* and if you think you are you’re the most unbalanced of us all. A single mannerism can be annoying after you mention it more than once, and becomes ignored for what it is, a poor way to imitate personality.

I listen and I watch, feeling delightfully naughty and productive whilst doing it. I invite others to share in this creative brain food which is bountiful and sustaining.

Today’s guest blogger: Penelope Fletcher.

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Books By Derek Haines
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People Watching
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One thought on “People Watching

  • 16/06/2011 at 4:32 pm
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    Agreed. I get my best character ideas from people watching.

    Thanks for posting..

    Darlene

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