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Monday, September 13, 2010

Now this is an interesting shoe!

Where in the heck did the designer come up with the idea? Acid trip? Sleep deprived stupor? What was he thinking? No, I'm only kidding. (Well, sort of...) Anyway, the idea, good or bad, came from somewhere, right? On Friday, my fellow blogger Sherrie blogged about the topic of where writers get their ideas. You can read the post here. I commented about how my good friend gave me my latest idea. I had encouraged said friend to write about it herself, but she claimed that she couldn't even write a grocery list, let alone an entire novel. So, I decided I'd take the topic on. Well, I ran into all kinds of problems. The topic itself was not necessarily unique, but the situation was. This made it worth pursuing, but I couldn't quite come up with a believable motivation for the main character. That is until I witnessed some bizarre behavior from my neighbors across the street. I won't go into any details, but let's just say that the behavior was the perfect motivation for my character to end up in the story line my friend envisioned. So, what is my point? Well, it's this: our ideas may be born in one light, but could come to fruition in another. We have to get out there and witness what goes on in the world around us before we can write about it. It's so easy for us writers to get wrapped up in our stories and forget that there are all kinds of things going on outside of our manuscripts. Taking a break and living life is just as important as honing our craft. Oh, and a little discreet people watching doesn't hurt either. Okay, okay, call it spying if you must, but still... Thanks for joining me for the first ever Monday's Miscellanea post. So, what do you think? Do you people watch? Do you soak up every detail of the world around you? How important do you think that is to writing?

31 comments:

Diane said...

This gives voyeurism a good name.... I used to sit in the mall and watch people, it was fun. Ideas can come from anywhere and grow into novels. :O)

Faith said...

I don't think I people watch on purpose as much as I could... but I tend to look at things / places / situations and glean idea from those.

I do think it's important to be aware of what's happening around you, though -- and to realize how you feel about what you hear, see, and observe. Those reactive emotions are just as important as what's going on, because you can draw on those to create more realistic writing. For example, if you overheard a mother talking about her teenage daughter's pregnancy and she sounded upset, what's your reaction to that? And what created character could represent your reaction to that family situation?

Just something I've been thinking about recently, with a bit of drama going on in my own life. :) I figure it's best to use the bad for good, rather than let it rule me. Everything can be used for writing!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

People are great plot feeders. My ideas come from strange places. Experience some and my next novel came to life at the doctor's office. One thought and the thing grew legs.

~ Wendy

Melanie's Randomness said...

I get my inspiration from everywhere too & then put my own spin on it. I sat in a doctor's office once & noticed no one was coming back out...I didn't realize the exit was on the other side but it was great inspiration for my zombie novel. hehe. =)

Beth Mann said...

I absolutely people watch, and I'm not discreet about it AT ALL. I'm the girl sitting in the mall with a pretzel just STARING! LOL

P.S. You need to Google Lady GaGa's shoes from the VMA's last night. I think they deserve a post ;P

Laurel said...

I trip across ideas while out and about all the time. Seeing remodeling mess at a store gave me a great plot twist involving mannequins. More than anything, I people watch for authentic details. How does a guy move when he's nervous? What makes someone's walk dweeby? What do career-obsessed women buy at the grocery store? What's the latest slang for stupid?

Jackee said...

All good points! We have to live to mimic life in our writing. And ideas can come from anywhere, we just have to wrap them up and make them our own.

Thanks for sharing, Susan. Have a wonderful week!

Suzanne Casamento said...

I love the comment from Melanie's Randomness. A doctor's office where nowhere comes out?! Yikes!

Funny you bring this up. My friend H and I were discussing The Question of the Day yesterday. Because of all my note taking, we both think our senses have been heightened over the past couple years. Since it's not easy to come up with a question every day, we REALLY watch what goes on around us. We take notes about conversations and record the smallest details about what goes on around us. Doing that makes life way more interesting!

paulgreci said...

I am a people watcher. I love observing and participating on what is happening around me.

Laura Pauling said...

I can't say I go out into the world with intention to spy or eavesdrop, but if something stick out at me, I'll jot it down when I get home. Nice post for a Monday. :)

T. Anne said...

Yes! I'm nosey that way. ;) Sometimes I think I was put on the planet to do just that, people watch. LOVE the shoe. Do they come in a size seven?

Melissa said...

Yes, people watching is very important to me. Seriously, you can get the craziest ideas just from watching people interact with each other.

Julie Dao said...

Look at those shoes! WOW. I am a consummate people watcher and love doing it! It's so inspiring and you can get many ideas for your writing, it's true.

MT said...

If I lost my vision, I'd have to people watch with my ears - it's the biggest place I get my ideas, that and personal experience. :)

Patti said...

I people watch all the time. What I really need to do is have a notebook with me to take note of how people talk to one another, body movement and facial expressions.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

That shoe is unbelievable! I would be terrified to wear it. LOL. Great post and so true. Much of what I write comes from what I live daily. :-)

Tamika: said...

People are so interesting, how could we not be drawn to soak up little pieces of their lives. For writing purposes I've become a lot more aware of those around me, especially riding the car watching other passages scream into the air!

Elana Johnson said...

I love the part where you say that ideas may come to fruition in different ways than we imagine. I do think we soak in everything around us in order to form our words into stories.

Love that shoe pic, BTW.

Terri Tiffany said...

It's funny from reading the comments how many of us are people watchers. It's my favorite pasttime as well:)) I think that's one of the best ways to find our inspiration.

VICTORIA SAAVEDRA said...

Writers are people watchers. It's kind of creepy if you think about it :)

Carolyn V. said...

Excellent Monday post! I am a people watcher. I think I scared a little red headed boy last week when he road his skateboard in front of my car, because I kept staring at him. I thought he'd make a great character. =)

K. M. Walton said...

Oh my gosh, the soaking up is EVERYTHING to me. It is where I get every single solitary idea...big and small. I've garnered characters, plot lines, scenes, emotions from eavesdropping and paying attention to the world.

And then I write every single idea down, or I'd forget.

Jennifer Shirk said...

People watching is great! LOL (especially at an airport or boardwalk) But I watch for character reasons more than plot reasons. :)

Tere Kirkland said...

Oh, yes, I love to people watch. The more I step back from my manuscript and just think about the story, sometimes a character's voice will change, change in a way that means I've finally nailed the character, and I have to rewrite. Sometimes it's because I'm inspired by a real person, usually a stranger.

And here I took another lesson from the shoe:
It seems like the designer was taking a trend, like studs, and playing on it, but they took the idea too far, so it was mostly conceptual, not practical.

So watch out for chasing trends. Instead of creating something original, you've created something that no one really wants, and no one will take seriously.

I love your shoe pics!! So thought-provoking!

Nicole Zoltack said...

That shoe looks uncomfortable.

I love to people-watch. It's one of my favorite pastimes. Hope that doesn't make me sound stalkerish cuz I'm not...

Lynn said...

I like tuning into others' conversations. My job heightened my ability to hear what is going on before seeing. Lots of fun. The real world IS full of stories, not just our imaginations.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Oh, yes! I definitely do all those things. I find it all benefits my stories, and can even give them a unique twist.

I wonder if those shoes would have to be registered as lethal weapons. ;)

lotusgirl said...

people watching is very important for writers.

Bethany Mattingly said...

Y-ouch! Those heels look awesome and scary at the same time. Definitely wondering what the designer was thinking :) I love people watching, but for some reason I usually just get random, secondary characters from a couple characteristics I see. I'm glad you could get your idea worked out.

Janna Qualman said...

So true! It's as much about the twists and turns our creativity takes as it is the initial inspiration.

Those are spiky shoes, aren't they? I'd hurt myself.

Name: Holly Bowne said...

My kids just shake their heads at me when they once again find me blatantly eavesdropping on conversations around us. But I just keep telling them, "Hey, I'm a writer. It's my JOB!" ;o)

I think people watching and incorporating the situations we encounter in "real life" are what help bring our fiction to life.