People watching is a favourite pastime of mine.
We’d been to the Wednesday market and sat at the same café as my previous French market post on a terrace overlooking the crowd where I like to do my people watching. I snapped a few more nice shots of people passing by.
This would make a lively practice piece for character development. Who are the main characters? What is their relationship to one another? What is their background? Are they wealthy? Are they visitors to this area, or do they live here? And so on and so on.
You could use the secondary characters in the background, too. Who looks happy? Who doesn’t? Why? Is there a face that looks apprehensive? Why might that be?
Before you realise, you’re writing a short story.
Maybe you’ll follow some of these characters home to develop their story further. What would their home be like?
Here’s another people picture.
Opportunities for creating setting and character development are staring you in the face.
You can let your imagine run riot. You can write down lots of ideas. You don’t have to keep them all. Keep the ones that work best.
What are these children thinking? Why do they put their fingers to their mouths?
After every visit to the market, I come home with new characters to think about. Maybe they’ll find their way into a new short story. Perhaps I’ll keep them for something longer.
It doesn’t matter whether you write romance, fantasy, mystery, horror, sic-fi or thriller. Whatever genre you write in, or avoid becoming labelled as, most stories have one thing in common: people.
Go people watching and take a notebook. Your camera should be with you at all times, too. You never know what you might find around the corner.
People watching must be popular. There’s even a WikiHow to page about it. So, if you’re not sure how to begin, here’s a link with some ideas.