Margaret talks about the need to be observant
Writing is not only about creating a story, but also about observing human nature. We’re not creating two-dimensional characters, but real people with real problems, thoughts and emotions.
For me names come first. I can’t write until I know them. Occasionally they might change if, as the story progresses, it doesn’t suit the character. Once I have the names I’m able to build up a mind-picture. Sometimes I might cut out pictures from magazines and use them as influence, but generally I use my imagination. I jot down eye and hair colour – I don’t want it to change half-way through! And whether they have any distinguishing features.
I also people watch. Everyone has their own unique characteristics. It might be the way they look at the person they’re with – interest, love, anger, any number of emotions. Their mannerisms interest me as well, the way they move their hands when they talk, eye-contact or no eye contact which is interesting in itself. Does it mean they don’t want to be there? Have they fallen out? Then there are lovers, always touching and smiling, whispering sweet nothings, enjoying their time together. I can’t help asking myself how long they’ve known each other, whether it’s a first date, or perhaps they’ve known each other for some time but never felt any real connection until now.
My writing has definitely taught me to be more observant of what’s going on around me.