Author Morgan Mandel's recent blog post about a neighbor's barking dog, and a cat in the window, got me thinking about the things you see that influence your fiction - or should.
Being a good writer means being observant. An idea can start with something as simple as a headline, a news story, or a photo.
How about your neighbors or neighborhood? Or those around you? One story I wrote started with a memory of an old, stooped woman usually dressed in black who lived in a creepy stone building. As cruel as kids are, the little old lady was known as the neighborhood witch and no one wanted to go near her house.
Next time you don't feel like writing or are a little "dry" on ideas, try people watching. Sit in the library, bookstore or café a while (it's okay it's research, ha!) and chances are, you'll see someone interesting that will fit into your book or story.
A character chart can be used as an idea file for characters. Jot down (or draw if you're talented) the characteristics of people you see as you're sipping your tea or coffee. Use the ideas to build characters. See sample character list below:
Character Ideas List
Height, body size:
Facial Hair, style, color?
Skin tone, marks:
Hair color, style:
Characteristics: (Quirks, actions, etc.)
Distinguishing or other marks: (tattoos, scars, etc.)
Speech: Inflection, pitch, patterns
** YOUR TURN: What are some of your favorite idea generating spots? How do you develop your characters?