Thursday, March 13, 2014

PEOPLE WATCHING


I’ve heard lots of writers talk about people watching for research purposes. Examining the nuances that they see and wondering about the bits of conversations they overhear. So I thought I’d take a short drive (sometime in the afternoon and then share a little of my experience.


Man #1

He’s seen walking toward his car in freezing cold weather. He’s holding a mug that must be filled right up to the top, because despite the frigid temperature, he’s walking slowly, and his eyes are glued to his drink.

So what if this man was a hero? Well there has to be a good reason why this man would be carrying something so precious and putting himself in such discomfort. Maybe it’s a baby he’s rescuing or an explosive. Something he must be careful with or else why wouldn’t he just run to his car and crank up the heat?



Man #2

He’s seen walking down a busy road. He’s impeccably dressed in a nice coat and a suit underneath. He’s carrying a briefcase, which alludes to the fact that he probably has a good job. His hair is neat, he’s tall, and although I can’t see his face, let’s assume he possesses good looks. However, he turns his head and spits long and hard onto the ground beside him.

So could this man be a hero? Not in my novels! I’m sorry but I find spitting gross, so this man to me is a villain. Yes, a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing. What is he hiding under his façade? If he looks so successful, why is he walking? It’s ridiculously cold outside. Doesn’t he have a car, or at least enough money to take a cab or the bus? And where is he going? Shouldn’t he be at work?




The possibilities are endless. And that what’s fun about people watching, writers could watch the same people and probably come up with all different kinds of theories and ideas.

So, what were you thinking when you read about these men? Heroes or villains? What are they up to?



Or please share a people watching story you have.
I’d love to hear from you!




Eva Maria Hamilton is the author of Highland Hearts, a Love Inspired Historical novel published by Harlequin. Her novel, Highland Hearts, won 2nd Place in the Historical Romance, as well as the Traditional/Inspirational Romance Categories in the Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Awards, and was an Inspirational Series Finalist in the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.

Highland Hearts
Scotland 1748
The Battle of Culloden is over, but one Highlander’s fight has just begun…
Logan McAllister survived years of indentured servitude in the Americas to reach this moment. Now he’s returned to Scotland, ready to redeem the secret promise from Sheena Montgomery’s father – that his years as an indentured servant would earn him Sheena’s hand in marriage. But when he arrives home, he learns that Sheena’s father has died, his contract has been lost… and Sheena is engaged to another man.


To connect with Eva Maria Hamilton online, please visit her at 
www.evamariahamilton.com

20 comments:

  1. Eva, great post! Writers possess an innate curiosity that creates all sorts of possibilities when combined with an overactive imagination. One of my favourite people watching activities is seeing if I can match up couples. If a man is waiting outside a store with a full grocery trolley, possibly with kids in tow, I'll search the checkout queues to see if I can pick out his spouse.

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    1. That's a fun people watching game! I'm going to play that :)

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  2. Great post, Eva. I agree with you about the spitting. It's gross, There used to be laws on the books making spitting on the street illegal. Of course, that's no longer possible because everyone has "rights." I'd like the right to a clean street, but that's another story. Apparently the motivation behind the law was to prevent the spread of TB. Just an arcane fact I thought I'd pass along. :-)

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  3. Thanks for sharing that Alice! I had no idea that was actually a law! I may be living in the wrong time period :)

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    1. I bet those laws are still on the books many places.

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    2. That would be interesting to know!

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  4. My first take on the "spitting man" -before the spitting was mentioned- was that his car broke done on the way to a very important business meeting. After reading about the spitting I think he was robbed of his car, took a face punch during the incident and was spitting blood due to the punch.

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  5. That is so funny, Eva. I often wonder what people would make of me if they caught me unawares at times!

    Today I'm off to shop and who knows what inspiration I'll find? Last week it was a tattooed lady.right up to her neck and down each arm...an interesting character for sure.

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    1. Rita, I hope you got some new character ideas :)

      And I think we can inspire our characters too :) Remember the saying from Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) “‘For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?’” :)

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  6. Its funny but on Tuesday I had a day out to a nearby town with better shopping. As we are arriving to the CBD we spotted a guy dresses up and obviously a lawyer or accountant and the comment from the lady I went with was What he cant even afford a briefcase to carry his important papers? I didn't really take notice.

    I use to stay in Melbourne with a friend of mum's who use to knit for a designer. She said she loved to people watch and would quite often watch people to see the types of knitted jumpers (sweaters) they wore and to see what they did.

    I agree about the spitting!

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    1. Jenny, how interesting. It sounds like you may have seen a wolf in sheep's clothing too :)

      I wonder what your friend thought about the people with the sweaters? Did they match what she assumed?

      And I'm glad I have a friend who agrees about the spitting :)

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    2. I am not sure but she like to see the design and if they were like the ones she made. She said she liked to watch how people interacted and what they were doing. I guess I do that at times also. I am quite happy to sit in a restaurant or cafe on my own and it whiles away the time.

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    3. That does sound relaxing, Jenny :) Sitting down with something yummy to eat or drink and people watching :)

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  7. I enjoyed reading the various ideas that came from your people-watching experience, Eva! Just yesterday I had to wait half an hour for a friend at a shopping centre and had such fun working out what was going on in the lives of all the people I saw go in and out of the store right in front of me! Watching them talk on their mobile phones at the same time added even more possibilities!

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    1. Isn't it a great way to keep yourself amused!
      And it may be impossible to shut off that writer brain that just wants to plot :)

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  8. I've always enjoyed people watching, especially at airports-there not much else to do there--and places like malls. Coming up with scenarios as to what they are doing is fun as well and yes, can be great fodder for a book!

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    1. I agree, Lisa! It's also fun to play with a friend and bounce ideas back and forth :)

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  9. Eva thanks for this fun post. I have often "people watched" and tried to figure out their story. But I admit I never tried to establish if they'd make good heroes or heroines! You've given me a great idea for my online writing group's next exercise! Thank you!

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  10. What a fascinating concept to people watching, Eva. Definitely going to give that a try. It reminds me of a movie I watched once (think it was Date Night) where the husband and wife are in this restaurant and they are people watching and making up their own interpretation as they lip read :) Was so funny.

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