Paying attention

Writing Exercise: Take a pen and a notebook. Go to a public place. It could be a mall, a coffee shop, a train station, or a park.

Observe. Don’t stare, but watch for details. Jot down descriptions of what you see. Notice the specifics of characters and your setting. Listen for dialogue. What do your characters say and how do they say it? What do you think they are feeling at the time?

Later, highlight the details and characters you like best. Choose one. Create a “backstory” for this person. What is going on in his or her life? What does she want more than anything in the world? What does she fear? What will she do to get what she wants?

Create a story about your character.

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