Thursday, March 5, 2020

People Watching Opportunities

by Sparkle Abbey

As writers we love watching people. Sitting back and looking for something that might spark an idea for a character or storyline. The clothes someone is wearing, a subtle hand gesture or facial expression, a speech pattern, any and all of that can inspire our characters. And conversations, too. Not that we'd ever eavesdrop...

At their core, people are fascinating. And when they get together, whether it's a political caucus, a run on supplies at the hardware store, or a packed sports arena, those places they gather become prime people-watching territory. Here the political candidates, their staff, and the news media have all moved on. But now we've got a swim event with top-ranked Olympic swimmers in town and high-school basketball tournaments are in full swing. Hotels are packed, parking is at a premium, and we find ourselves with even more opportunities to observe and make notes.

There were the patient ones who waited in long lines, chatting quietly or on their cell phones. The elderly woman who grabbed the last hand sanitizer off the shelf looked like she'd just won the lottery. The guy who attempted to pay to get out of the parking garage with a credit card but was in the cash-only line was not feeling so lucky.

Over the past few weeks, we have definitely refilled our pool of creative ideas. And it isn't even time for the Downtown Farmer's Market or the Iowa State Fair, which takes people watching to a whole other level. We can't wait!

What about you? Where do you people watch?


Sparkle Abbey is actually two people, Mary Lee Ashford and Anita Carter, who write the national best-selling Pampered Pets cozy mystery series. They are friends as well as neighbors so they often get together and plot ways to commit murder. (But don't tell the other neighbors.) 
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