Formulating Characters

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This was an exercise posed in the course I am taking right now about Writing Fiction. It referred to looking at your notebook – the infamous writer’s notebook where one writes down all of the random craziness in their head – and seeing if they could formulate character’s from their observations:

I have always been a people-watcher, to the point it seems to get me in trouble. Why are you looking at him – those sort of things. It is not an attraction, per se; yet it is. Not to the person in front of me, but to where my mind takes me when I see him or her. One thing I liked about the military was the attention to detail, and I find myself always formulating stories around everyone I see. Why they wore that jacket, how old their shoes are yet why they are a constant favorite. I see a look in someone’s eyes and try to explain it in my head. I feel everyone and every ‘thing’ needs an explanation – in my head.

I have done this since I was a child. Escapism, I suppose. It was one thing I could do when my other vice (reading) could not be performed at any given time. I believe this is why I have been writing for 20 or so years and yet have not really written a thing. (Ghost-writing mindless SEO articles/ebooks just is not the same!)

WRITING is so deeply personal. So to wrap up my long-winded response to this question, I feel that literally anyone – from the briefest chance meeting to the most intricate of relationships – could be fodder for a story. Imagination is a wonderful thing!

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