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When’s the last time you were the creepy stalker in the corner of a busy room? Has it been a long time? Too long? Perhaps you should dig deep inside yourself and pull out that creeper again.

What I mean is: when did you last people watch? I mean really people watch? When you were that weird person in the corner of Starbucks with only a cup of coffee and maybe a piece of paper where you madly scribbled down what people were doing and saying? Where people gave you weird looks because you keep staring at them while they are talking to their friend about that very personal problem they’re experiencing? (These conversations happen in Starbucks a lot more than people may think…)

It’s been awhile for me, to be honest.

And to be even more honest, I’m starting to notice it when I write. Every character is starting to make the same expressions, and I struggle to find some new facial expression or new tick a character can embrace as their own. Whenever I struggle in this, I know it’s time to go to a coffee shop and observe.

This is difficult for me, since I’m a person that likes to be “busy” and doesn’t like to feel like I’ve wasted my time, especially my writing time. But I need to adjust my thoughts, because sitting and observing people is what distinguishes a good writer from a poor writer. Not everyone has the same character tics, not everyone does the same thing when they are angry, not everyone laughs the same way, smiles the same way, etc. It’s the subtle differences in the cast of characters which really stand out to me when I am reading, and it’s one of the ways that a novel skyrockets from average to good.

Why Be A Creeper?

  • real, honest interactions between people spur realistic inspiration for your story
  • new expressions
  • nervous ticks
  • cadence of voices
  • different laughters
  • mannerisms
  • appearances (body shape, height, weight, eye shape, lip shape, nose size/shape, clothing, etc.)
  • basically, inspiration

Let life inspire you. Get out of the house. Experience people in all their natural glory.