Watching the World Go By

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I’m an inveterate eavesdropper and people-watcher. The minutiae of other people’s lives, with all their complexities and mundanities, fascinates me. They might seem tedious to the casual onlooker, but they are very fertile hunting grounds for the writer.

A healthy dose of inquisitiveness is a useful quality for a writer and one worth cultivating. Continue reading

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Character Reference

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I’ve just had my passport photograph updated – who is that woman? She looks like she’s had an interesting life – it’s certainly left its mark. Which ties in nicely with this week’s theme – creating characters.

People-watching can be very fertile ground and there are plenty of opportunities for observing personality traits and characteristics in colleagues, friends and total strangers in the course of your working life and leisure activities.

I’ve been lucky to work in some colourful and exciting environments, full of large than life personalities, who transfer easily onto the page, albeit with a little tweaking. Here are some possibilities for you to consider: Continue reading

My Writing Day

Everyone has their own way of doing things and the more I read about other writers’ daily routines, the more surprised I am that we ever get any writing done at all. There are just so many claims on our time. Ideally, now that I’m well into the final editing phase of my second novel, my daily activities should fit around my writing. Pity it doesn’t quite work like that. Here’s how I make everything fit: Continue reading

Things aren’t always what they seem

I was going to write about observation today, particularly the writer’s habit – or is it just mine? – of jumping to conclusions about the events and scenes we witness every day and introduce into our fiction.  Do we write a true representation of what occurred, or let our imaginations running riot? I’ll come back to that. But first, and rather off the point, I want to share something else with you. Continue reading

The Devil’s in the Detail

Over the past few weekends I’ve been mildly entertained by a neighbour’s attempts to cut down a tree in his garden. The tree was probably deserving of the treatment; it was a straggly old conifer that had overstayed its welcome but the whole felling procedure – and believe me, the production was worthy of Cecil B de Mille – got me thinking about familiar landmarks and how I can use them in my writing to add some individuality as well as colour, texture and even humour. They don’t need to be large or dramatic, in fact, for our purposes, small is definitely beautiful. It’s all in the detail. Here’s a selection of sights that are familiar to me and probably surround us all in some shape or other:

Continue reading