I'm a people watcher. Have been all my life. I like finding little quirks in people that maybe they don't realize they have. For a long time I just watched (I know, makes me sound like a stalker. I'm not) and filed the information away. Had no idea why.
And then I realized I was a writer. Not just a non-fiction journalist, but a real writer. All these character bumps and weird habits I'd filed away? Yep, in my subconscious, fictional characters were forming with these same habits. Now that I know what my brain was doing all along, I'm a little more descriptive in my people watching. I usually have a notebook handy and if something at the mall or a harvest festival or whatever catches my attention, I'll jot down a few notes. Not just 'lady picking nailpolish' but 'lady in a red dress, county fair, desperate for attention, looks bored but very aware'. To anyone else, my notes probably read like an investigator's report. And that's fine with me.
As I was writing What a Texas Girl Wants, which is my first published book, I realized that a couple of 'real life' people - or at least a couple of mannerisms - made the pages, and I think that makes the book come to life a little bit more. Because you may not have seen that same person, but maybe you've seen someone else picking at nail polish or twirling her hair just so or slinking along the way because they're more comfortable out of the spotlight. People watching, I've found can be very beneficial...and I can't wait to use Ms. Red Dress in the story. Some day.
In the meantime, thought I'd share poem with y'all, shared with me by a new writing friend....all about people watching.
by Nance Hill
Beyond your perception, I'm full of deception;
from you, I will loot, filch and forage,
I'll approach with a smile, and steal all the while;
The stash goes in notebooks for storage.
I'll pilfer your grin, or the last place you've been,
or your habit of slapping your knees,
the puns that you sprinkle, your lips as they crinkle;
Whatever I fancy, I'll seize.
Perhaps I'll abscond with a faux pas you've spawned,
or a client you met on the job,
your wild-patterned tie, the half-tear in your eye;
With a swipe of the pen, I will rob.
Then I'll gather my plunder and rend it asunder,
revise 'til there's only a hint.
You won't know what I've taken until you're quite shaken
to see that I fenced it in print.
* * *
June 2012, Crimson Romance
Kathleen Witte is a down-to-earth girl. She has to be, with the family ranch on the verge of success. After seven months of keeping it all together by swearing off men, however, Kathleen needs a bit of fun in the sun. Waking up with a husband she can’t remember isn’t how she planned to blow off steam.
The last thing Jackson Taylor wants in his life is a down-to-earth girl. He has four weeks of freedom in which to find his birth mother. He’s done well avoiding commitment until now, so when he wakes up on a Mexican beach with Kathleen his first reaction is curiosity. When he spies the matching wedding rings on their left hands curiosity turns to concern.
Neither Jackson nor Kathleen want to stay married, but when her family shows up, they have no choice. Once back in Texas, however, can they keep this all-business marriage from turning into an all-consuming love?
Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police—no, she wasn't a troublemaker, she was a journalist. When the opportunity to focus a bit of energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it. And she’s never looked back. Now she writes magazine articles by day and romance novels with spice by night. She lives on Lake Erie with her husband and four year old daughter. Happily ever after.
Visit Kristina at her website: http://www.kristinaknightauthor.com