One of the most frequent questions authors are asked is where our ideas come from. Most times they pop into our heads, at other times we find inspiration from a newspaper or television news headline. It doesn't take much to fuel our imaginations, just one little thing can spark an entire story line.
For instance, I sat in a waiting room today, watching folks come and go. All the while, I noted what particular thing about each of them caught my attention. People watching is a favorite pastime of mine, along with their walk, the tone of their voices, facial expressions, their overall reactions to whatever is going on at the moment, and best of all their anger, sadness, or laughter. Usually, I scribble notes in a notebook or write furiously on my iPad for future use. When I leave the house without either one of those items, I end up squeezing notes on store receipts, coupons or napkins. Whatever I have tucked in my handbag that works, gets used.
Staying current with trends is another aspect writers strive for. Whether it's clothing, the latest popular colors, phones and music, we take them all into consideration when writing. Trends change quickly, no matter if the story is in the here and now or taking place in another time frame, say the 1980's, then it's important we get things right. Some things rarely change, like hot dog stands or jeans for instance, which is kind of nice, because we can be assured of not having to chase that particular detail. It's surprising how authors are picked at because a reader is positive something took place at a particular time, date, period, etc. We hear about it often, and not generally kindly. Rest assured, most of us do our research and try real hard to get things right. Even when the town, where our story takes place, is a fictional place, or a country is one that doesn't exist, we usually base it on a place we're familiar with or have read up on.
Look around when you're out and about, see if you notice what's unusual about a person, you might find you like people watching, too.
By for now, I'll be back next week.