Why People-Watching Enhances Characterization in Fiction Writing

You’ll root for each child and for the Sunshine Ranch, while enjoying T.M. Gaouette’s rich prose and vivid descriptions.(writingstraight.com)

I love to people watch. I’ve done it for as long as I can remember. No matter where you are, you can people-watch -assuming there are people there, of course. And I believe it’s really helps me enhance character development in my fiction novel writing.

People-watching doesn’t involve staring at people to the point of discomfort, but rather watching them discretely and taking in the subtle details of natural behavior. It’s about witnessing how one interacts with another, within a group, and even alone. Every movement can be recorded for future use. Subtle details are as significant as the obvious, such as a narrowing of the eyebrow, a tilt of the head, and even a blank gaze. These are all valuable.

These gestures, expressions, and attitudes, when used appropriately, breathe life into a character.

People-watching is also an effective way of creating story-lines. Witnessing a couple sharing a meal in a restaurant, a family on a beach, or a person sitting alone can prompt many questions. Why are they here? What’re they talking about? How’s she feeling?

Then, we’re introduced to the other foster children, all with diverse issues: depression, sadness, loss, abuse, neglect. Their means of coping is uniquely crafted to each well-developed character. (writingstraight.com)

In my novel, The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch, I was pleased to note that many readers enjoyed my character development. And I believe that much of the credit goes to my habit of people-watching.

The characters are well developed and likable…I loved how Ms. Gaouette presented each child as unique, with his or her own defenses and coping mechanisms. (ourvillageisalittledifferent.com)

People-watching is a valuable tool, I feel. It introduces me to various types of characters, characteristics, and storylines. There’s truly nothing better than witnessing real life if your desire is to bring your characters to life in a novel.

Do you find that people-watching is a valuable tool for writing fiction ?

Image Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

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