Monday, October 25, 2010

Because People are Interesting

You know, whenever I’m in a public place where I hear authors answer questions from the public (aka fans), it becomes inevitable that someone will ask where that author gets his or her story ideas.

Unfortunately, that’s a loaded question. But also a simple one. Because most of our ideas come from real life. Things we see, things we hear about, people we meet.

Just the other day, a friend (and fellow writer) and I had a discussion about how fascinated we are by people’s life stories. Just as no two authors have the same success story, no two people have the same life story.

I think this is probably in large part why I write. I’m fascinated by the journeys of individual people, and this fascination, the “what if,” is what creates stories in my head. Full blown characters with full experiences that cause them to grow and learn.

It doesn’t help that I’m a people watcher. Everywhere I go, I find myself soaking people in—researching possible characters for future stories. I wonder why this person is this way, or why that person makes one choice rather than another. I wonder who they love, and who loves them, and what feels like home to them. I wonder who they are inside, and how they became that person.

Is this unusual? Does everyone do this or is it a trait unique to the creative community? I don’t know. But just in case you were wondering, my ideas all come from watching and experiencing life in all its many glorious forms.

So, you know. Keep on living, keep on dreaming, and if by chance you notice a writerly-type person observing you, consider it a compliment. It’s because you’re interesting.


Cheree said...

It's good to be a people watcher, especially when you're a writer. I work in hospitality and find it interesting the different mannerisms and quirks that many people have.

lotusgirl said...

I don't know if it's unique to writers, but I sure do it. I think it's something all people do to some extent.

Michael Knudsen said...

That's why reading widely is also so important. By following the journeys and arriving at the destinies of fictional characters and historical figures, we find the rhythm and arcs of lives, which helps us acheive realism. "People watching" is great for description and dialogue.

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm totally a people-watcher. Sometimes I wonder if it's bad manners and other times I can't resist the urge to listen or watch and say "Now THAT'S an interesting human being!" =D

Yellow Dog Patrol said...

Ran into you blog by happenstance - great writing, great content. Thank you.

Angie said...

Well, I do it. Don't know if it's just us writer types, but it's fun! And good advice.

ali said...

Yes! Me too! I do think it's relatively unique to the writing community. That's not to say there aren't plenty of people who people watch, just that I think an inordinate proportion of them are writers!

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Hi, Nichole! So true how different we all are and how the love of writing connects us and especially the desire to reach out and help one another.


~Elizabeth :)