This blog could be titled, “Confessions of a People-Watcher” because I like to observe folks in places where I find myself with my trusty notebook and time on my hands. Take the airport, for example. Reviewing years-old notes in a folder labeled “to transcribe” and which obviously haven’t been, I find these interesting characters:
- a group of very young men in uniform, obviously new recruits probably on their way to their first assignment
- a double-amputee vet in a wheelchair--a stark contrast to the above
- a young woman wearing fatigues, texting
- a priest in a long back robe
- a monk wearing his brown habit
- two young boys, their heads shaved except for spiked “Mohawks”
- a wheelchair-bound girl wearing a cowboy hat
- a woman trying on a turquoise cowboy hat in one of the shops
- a young guy, walking around and around the seats in the waiting area at a frantic pace while talking on his cell phone
- two kids with cell phones pressed to their ears--supposedly their accompanying parents were footing the bill!
- a blonde man in a sport shirt pushing a double stroller with two mixed-race children, followed by a woman in a long dress and head covering carrying an infant
- a man (I won’t profile but you can use your imagination) with a beard, wearing an untucked long-tailed golf shirt, looking around and scratching where he shouldn’t (in public)
- Finally, a black flight attendant with grey hair worn in a large bun--older, probably late 40s, slender, very attractive, graceful--and in her I found the image for my protagonist “Cordelia/Cordy” in an interracial romantic suspense which hasn’t made it out of my computer yet--but definitely will! (She was truly eye-catching!)
Moving from the airport to a hotel, this one in Hawaii: A man sits in the lobby of a posh tourist hotel as night falls. He is casually dressed in a short-sleeved shirt buttoned to the neck and conventional slacks and black shoes. His dark hair is white at the temples. He wears glasses and a wedding ring and reminds me a little of the Christian musician George Beverly Shea. He sits alone looking around rather aimlessly as the band plays behind him on the patio. I wonder if he is waiting for someone or simply reliving a memory. I hope for the former but somehow feel the latter.
More “characters” fill the list beside me, but these in particular seem to beg to populate a short story or a novel. Everyone has a story begging to be told.
In my notes I also found a quote attributed to someone named Leigh Michael who spoke at a writing conference I attended. She says, “You don’t have to have a detailed description of every character you meet.” I agree, though I like to have an image of my two main characters as I write, working their physical description into the story a little at a time and telling who they are through their actions and dialogue.
So do you see anyone in my list who wants to jump into your story?