How often do you watch others when waiting in a restaurant or sitting in a crowded room? I guess you could say I am a certified people watcher. No, I am not a stalker or a person who sits and stares at strangers until they become self-conscious and run screaming from my presence. I enjoy watching how others interact. It is a practice that helps with my writing.
When a lady speaks to a new gentleman, does she reach to touch his arm when she speaks? Does she seem to look at the floor more than at the gentleman? I imagine conversations. Are they happy to see each other or perhaps she is finding it hard to tell him some bad news. Is this a new relationship? Goodness, are they breaking up??
Couples are my favorite subjects…I enjoy watching how they respond to each other during conversation. I use this in my writing simply because often the body tells more than you could ever tell by mere conversation. I also love watching group dynamics, when several people are in discussion….who is the loudest? the most forceful? a follower more than a leader? I gain insight about the strengths of different types of people in larger situations. Observing these body language particulars and utilizing it in writing fleshes out characters; I find it helps give my characters more depth and is a great way to communicate much information without the use of dialogue in some situations.
After all, we don’t narrate our everyday feelings….would our hero or heroine sometimes need to show rather than tell a particular emotion?