By Denise Hunter
Most writers are observers by nature, aren’t we? We observe ourselves, we observe others, then we use what we observe in our writing.
Like the other day. I was driving down the road alone and had to brake suddenly for a cat. What was my response to potential disaster? (Yeah, some people don’t consider a dead cat a disaster, but work with me here.) Did I make sure my purse hadn’t dumped it contents or that my drink hadn’t spilled?
No, I was taking note of my physical reaction. Okay, I feel a sudden rush of adrenaline, a heated prickle under my arms that’s spreading to my fingertips. Okay, now it’s fading but my heart is still racing. A pencil . . . where’s a pencil?? Well, it’s on the floor in the pile of spilled purse.
We observe other people too. Some people call this eavesdropping or being nosy, but I like to file it under research. Last week I was noting the contents of a woman’s groceries in the checkout lane. You can tell a lot about a person by looking at her groceries. Don’t look at me like that. You know you’ve done it too.
This woman for instance. She had generics galore. Generic ketchup, generic pop, generic toilet paper. But the one thing she had that wasn’t generic was the cat food. Only Friskies for her darling. What, the people get the cheap stuff and the cat gets gourmet? Aren’t things a little out of balance here? I’m just saying.
I imagined what motivated her buying habits and came up with all kinds of scenarios for why her cat is on the family pedestal. Hey, maybe the woman’s darling is the same cat I almost ran over. Hmmm . . . Don’t you love it when your story connects in unexpected ways?
Maybe I’ll never use any of it, but I exercised my creativity and passed the time. So go ahead and observe, guilt-free. If you’re not a writer, it’s cheap entertainment, and if you are a writer, you have an endless source of inspiration.What do stray cats, generic groceries, and #writers have in common? Author @deniseahunter shares her observations. #ACFWBlogs #amwriting Click To Tweet
Denise Hunter used many of her personal observations (not the cat, however) in her brand new novel Honeysuckle Dreams. She is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 30 novels, including The Convenient Groom and A December Bride which have been made into Hallmark movies.