I've just returned from a visit to Florida. One thing about Florida, it's a great place to observe people. There is quite a mix.
When I first started writing, one thing I was encouraged to do was to be a spy. That's right, be a spy. Watch and observe. Write down the observations.
I had my notebook in hand, actually it was to do some plotting for a work in progress (The Counter-Clockwise Princess) but, I kept getting distracted...and I couldn't help myself. I started to write....
"the skinny old man in baggy bathing trunks, hey, he using his dog to pick up young chicks. He waits until he sees a girl, throws the ball and, oh, ha ha, the girl sees his dog and starts talking to old skinny man." Clever.
"She still has a baby belly, but doesn't care. Let's it all hang out, dropping over the bottom half of her bikini. My goodness, what a big butt."
"Old white man. Late 50s. Trim, but a little paunch. Full hair, white, crew cut. Tan. Good arm muscles. The woman with him. Trophy wife? Nice figure. Small chest. Wide shoulders. Tennis player? She's busy...looking at other men."
"Guy, 20 something. Boston Red Sox tee shirt. Goatee. Full, dark hair, short. Round face. No neck."
"Odd little man. No chin. Glasses. Thick lens. Sparse hair, tufts here and there. Lots of hair on the eyebrows. Thin lips, keeps sucking bottom lip in. He seems very worried."
These were just a few of my jottings.
I did it because a good friend criticized my writing for not having enough description of my characters. This was a good exercise. I really concentrated on these different people, studying their mannerisms.
Spying. Observing. Ruminating. Being a neb.
It's all part of being a writer.
(PS It's lots of fun.)