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

Advertisements

My Cures for Defeating Writers Block

It’s a writer’s nightmare!

Writer’s block can be devastating for a fiction writer who doesn’t know how to fill the void.

But there are ways in which you can take advantage of writer’s block, at least until you’re ready to resume your manuscript.

  • Writer’s write, and even when the dreaded writer’s block sets in, you need to write. There doesn’t have to be a reason behind the words and you don’t have to stick to writing fiction. In fact, you can just write about how you’re feeling. Write about writer’s block. Why? This exercise will give you a reason to write. It also provides you with an outlet to communicate your emotions. Lastly, it’ll give you material for future projects.
  • Are you in the midst of a fiction novel and you just can’t move forward? Then jump to the good part. You know the part. It’s the scene that you play over and over in your head. It’s the reason why you’re writing the story. By jumping to the good part, you’re stimulating your outlook, and you’re making the story exciting again.
  • If you just can’t write, and no scene inspires you, then read. Reading is the next best thing to writing. Read back on your own work. Oftentimes, when you read your own work, you become inspired to write more. Or better still, you can use the opportunity to proofread and revise chapters.
  • In the event that reading your own work of fiction only depresses you, then read the work of your favorite author. This is often a great motivator because it reminds you of why you became a writer in the first place. It’s also a lesson in writing. When you read the work of your favorite authors, you’re often inspired by their writing and your desire to write like them -or in some cases, better than them- grows.
  • Do you have another fictional story in mind? Start writing it. The idea of having two manuscripts in the works may seem overwhelming, but it’s actually less stressful. It allows you to chop and change from one story to another when the mood strikes you. Your writer’s block is on one story, so just take a break from it. And rather than do nothing, work on the other story. Go back and forth as it suits you. Returning to a story after a period away often provides a fresh perspective.Read motivational stories from writers, such as Stephen King’s, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. This memoir recalls King’s successes and failures, in addition to tips and advice on writing. Reading inspirational stories by successful writers motivates you to keep writing, because you’re reminded that even the most successful authors were lost for words.

Writer’s block doesn’t have to feel like a moment of failure. But you shouldn’t waste it on non-writing projects. Doing so will only cause guilt. Whatever method you choose to defeat your writer’s block, stay focused and disciplined. Think of writer’s block as an opportunity to take a break from your current project and work on another story or maybe catch up on some reading. Whatever you decide, take advantage of writer’s block, use it wisely, and it could be just what you need to make your story of fiction a success.

Best and blessings to you all.

Image Credit http://www.freedigitalphotos.net