Observation Monday – Characters

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It is time to sharpen up some skills in advance of NaNoWriMo. The writing I do every day is very different from 30 days of the intense heads-down writing required by NaNo.

So, the observation skill for today has to do with character development. I will be going to the grocery store today and tomorrow so I will put on my observation cap and watch people in the grocery store. I will observe their habits, the speed in which they move through the store, how they treat the staff, how they make choices, what they wear, and see if I can get a feel for them as a character.

Of course, observing is not enough. Afterwards, the real challenge is to write a short piece featuring your character. Can you bring them alive so readers can visualize what you saw? And just how do you go about choosing a name for this character? Does the name matter?

Feel free to jump in and join me. You can observe anywhere. I just happen to be going to the grocery store. Leave a comment or write your own post. You are welcome to link back here if you want to share what you wrote.

This should be fun.


14 thoughts on “Observation Monday – Characters”

  1. Because we tend to have a mental picture of a person associated with a name, I think character names do matter, perhaps more than they should. For example, using a name like Albert might imply an older, perhaps mild-mannered man, and calling a female character Crystal might suggest to a reader that she is younger, and possibly attractive.
    Just my thoughts on names.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. My name of Peter is definitely old-fashioned here now. You would be pushed to find a Peter under 60 years of age in England. Margaret is still popular with people from an Irish background, but has almost disappeared otherwise.

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        1. My name has been considered old for quite some time. I always loved to hear my father say my name, though. His deep bass voice made it sound so wonderful. I only know two people named Peter here. One was from Canada and the other Switzerland.

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  2. I do like the sound of this , I worked as a customer service assistant in a large Supermarket a good few years a go but I do remember lots of the customers, their foibles, traits and in some cases their names…. They were certainly different.💜💜💜😘

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  3. I like this idea for a prompt. In theatre school we were asked to observe people in public places to develop character traits for the roles we played. Body language is a giveaway as to a persons character.
    Great idea Maggie!

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    1. Jen, I took a couple of Master Classes – one from Margaret Atwood and one from Judy Blume. There were some dialog observation exercises in those classes. It is fascinating to study. I think this exercise will be a good one.

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