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. I'll know how to use Ms. Red Dress one of these days.
In the meantime, thought I'd share poem with y'all, shared with me by a new writing friend....all about people watching.
I'll pilfer your grin, or the last place you've been,