It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been on social media with the exception to a few pics on Facebook and a comment or two. You may wonder if I gave up or just decided this wasn’t for me. Well, no. I’ve been crazy busy. I bet you have too. With the holidays just behind us now, maybe you’re finally taking that deep breath and relaxing for once. I’m not yet.
I had a great Christmas, though a little sad at times without my Poppy around to celebrate with us. But it was still a wondrous time. Lots of family and a laugh until your sides hurt ugly sweater contest made it even better. We decided to take it easy on Christmas and cook Shepherd’s Pie instead of all the usual fare. What a good choice. It lightened the load of the day, let me tell you. I got lots of fabulous presents. Of course that’s because I had to shop for them myself. My husband insists I’m too hard to buy for. But he did get me one thing I’ve been wanting for years; a large nativity set. I’m in love with it. It was sad to pack it away until next year.
New Years was a bit unusual this year. All of my kids and my nieces, who are all teens, wanted to have their own celebration while the adults got together to play our favorite computer game, Nancy Drew. The kids got us hooked on it years ago and I think the adults enjoy it more than they do now. So we headed off and left them with their own sparkling grape juice and lots of snacks and we went to my brother’s. It was the first year in seven years my husband was home for this holiday and we had a blast.
And with barely a breath to breathe, I was finished with holidays and preparing for my oldest son’s wedding. What was going to be an elopement with the justice of the peace turned into a cozy little celebration in our sunroom, surrounded with family and close friends. My mom was grand enough to help me provide a nice luncheon for everyone afterward. We’d planned a nice reception for the following Sunday. Forty people came and celebrated with the new couple. We had a wonderful time. My cousin made a beautiful cake for them that was heavenly. And, it was a great time to get to know my new in-law family, too. Very nice people. I’m glad to call them family.
So you see, I haven’t been so remiss, I’ve just been super busy.
Now to take a little break! Oh wait—there’s another book to write. Guess the break with have to wait till the spring.
This is the best time of the year. So many wonderful things to see and do entrance me. Don’t you love the holiday music in most stores? How about the swags and wreaths everywhere? And the sunny farewells from store clerks?
It’s a great time to observe most people at their best. And why would that be important? Who cares if the usually grumpy cashier is has a quirk in his mouth that may suggest a small smile daring to escape? Why would you want to notice your bank teller is singing under her breath? Aren’t you too busy for these little nuances to matter?
But matter they do to a writer. Building character traits that jive and work together are paramount. Your keen eye will help make your characters more believable when you use your observations. People are consistent for the most part. All personalities tend to follow a pattern that can help you categorize their traits. Yes, we all know that certain things make us individualistic, but there are still general traits that make up a personality type.
Observation is the best way to learn, and first-hand experience is key. With just a few extra moments, we can mentally catalog these changes in the behavior of the people we encounter on a regular basis. Later, take the time to write a few notes in a journal so you can refer back to them. This will improve your writing by giving continuity to the personalities you’ve chosen to work with.
It’s great to read up on the subject too. There are excellent books on the subject, like Writer’s Guide to Character Traits, by Dr. Linda Edelstein.
Keep your eyes open. You’ll be surprised on what you pick up this wonderful, busy, sometimes crazy season.