Mystery, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, horror & YA by "Cheryl Kaye Tardif" & romance by "Cherish D'Angelo". Cheryl is represented by Trident Media Group in NY.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Do you observe people and conversations?

An author friend of mine, Karen Harrington, recently asked two interesting questions on The Write Type, a multi-author blog we both belong to.

Her questions were: Do you observe people and conversations? Do you sometimes fill in the blanks about what is taking place?

Like Karen, I find people fascinating. I watch their facial expressions, mannerisms, how they relate to people around them.

I also study their hair, partly because of my past life (real past life) as a stylist and partly because hair tells a lot about a person.

Is her hair styled, freshly washed? Is it simple or elaborate, or wildly colored? Is his hair naturally that color? Did he straighten it for her? Is there a squished in patch at the back that suggests he just woke up? Why did he wake up so late? Is he lazy or was he moonlighting as a criminal fighting vampire?

You can tell a lot by how people dress too.

Is she wearing make-up, fashionable clothes and expensive shoes or did she just throw on a sweater over her PJs, thinking no one can tell she's in her night wear? Are his jeans practically falling down under his butt? Does he really think this is cool? Why would a sixty-year old man think that?

Okay, these people haven't made it into one of my novels--yet. However, there is a young nanny at a park in my new (no release date, sorry) novel Children of the Fog, and she is a composition of many women I used to see at the park when my daughter was a baby.

Other people I've watched may not have made it into a novel, but some have made it to my blog. People are fodder for writers. Not that we'll chew you up or spit you out, but more that your actions or words may spark something in me and I'll assign them to a character, knowing that if nothing else, they'll ring true. I do sometimes imagine what their lives are like. One look at some people can give me a story without them even opening their mouths. It may not be the correct story, but it'll be interesting all the same.

Airports are a great place to watch people. So are malls. My favorite place is a bookstore--usually because that means I'm there signing books if I have that much time to watch people. You can tell a lot about a person just by the books they buy.

Yes, I am a watcher. I naturally notice things. And who knows when something I see will end up in one of my novels? :)

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You bet I do! I often have to wait for DATS, sometimes for up to an hour (or more) in the vestibule of the north mall entrance at Southgate, just outside of Coles, where you signed the first book I bought from you :) There is a row of six doors leading into the vestibule, and then another six leading to the outside.

As I sat there watching, one day, I noticed that it didn't matter which door people used to enter the vestibule, a large majority gravitated to "door #4" to get outside. This door was clearly marked with an "Out of Order" sign. Most of the time they were not paying attention, or talking to someone else and just not looking, but it seemed that for some subconscious reason, they just had to use the one door that wasn't working! This is a door that, under normal circumstances, would only be used (plus or minus) one sixth of the time! I observed this for over an hour, that day. At other times, no-one uses that door any more or less than the others.

I'm embarrassed to say that sometimes I giggled at the confused, or just plain p-o'd expressions on people's faces (or mild oaths).

Another time, quite recently, on a bright, beautiful day when people were obviously in a good mood because of the advent of spring, I noticed more "odd" behaviour: doors were being held open for strangers much, much more frequently than usual. Some people even went out of their way to open doors! And, people said, "thank you" much more often. And, and some people even acknowledged the 'thanks', and said "you're welcome".

Yes, this does happen more often than we think - we're not really a bunch of mannerless yahoos - but this was happening on that beautiful spring day with almost everybody!

Just thought I'd share my observations. People are quite fascinating! (I too, notice clothes, shoes, hair etc. - it passes the time when you have to wait.)

'Kay, 'bye Cheryl
Linda Mercier