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Taylor
December 13th, 2020, 05:40 PM
I'm not sure this post is in the right thread but I believe it has to do with character development.

Now and even before I started writing fiction, I have this habit that I cannot control. When I see people together, I try to figure out what the relationship is between them. I watch them surreptitiously to see if I can spot a gesture or look that indicates their connection. It doesn't have to be a couple, it can be any number of people and of all ages. Of course some are easier than others, so I find myself seeking out the less obvious groupings.

I don't know why I do it. But I have long since stopped trying to control it.

Does anyone else have any obsessions or habits that involve watching strangers?

Do you think it's because we are writers?

indianroads
December 13th, 2020, 07:04 PM
I think an author's interest in other people are key to good character development. Of interest to me are gestures and speech patterns - and about their lives in general.

Taylor
December 13th, 2020, 07:13 PM
I think an author's interest in other people are key to good character development. Of interest to me are gestures and speech patterns - and about their lives in general.

How do you observe them?

indianroads
December 13th, 2020, 07:43 PM
Watch and listen carefully. If possible I chat with them and learn a bit about their lives and world view.

Taylor
December 13th, 2020, 07:50 PM
Watch and listen carefully. If possible I chat with them and learn a bit about their lives and world view.

Oh I know me too! I love to ask questions, and get them to open up. I think it's so valuable to listen...listen...listen.

luckyscars
December 13th, 2020, 07:58 PM
Does anyone else have any obsessions or habits that involve watching strangers?

Nice try, FBI.

No but seriously, it's super important. You can tell writers who pay attention to people by reading their work. Even a few lines of weird dialogue or unrealistic action/reaction can absolutely be enough for me to want to stop reading.

Taylor
December 13th, 2020, 08:04 PM
Nice try, FBI.

No but seriously, it's super important. You can tell writers who pay attention to people by reading their work. Even a few lines of weird dialogue or unrealistic action/reaction can absolutely be enough for me to want to stop reading.

Haha...my mind was not there!

But I know what you mean about unrealistic action. My husband hates watching movies with me because I'm always doing a running commentary on the characters and if what they are doing is believable, and how their actions may be foreshadowing. I usually figure out the ending early on and blurt it out...which really pisses him off.

bdcharles
December 14th, 2020, 11:04 AM
I'm not sure this post is in the right thread but I believe it has to do with character development.

Now and even before I started writing fiction, I have this habit that I cannot control. When I see people together, I try to figure out what the relationship is between them. I watch them surreptitiously to see if I can spot a gesture or look that indicates their connection. It doesn't have to be a couple, it can be any number of people and of all ages. Of course some are easier than others, so I find myself seeking out the less obvious groupings.

I don't know why I do it. But I have long since stopped trying to control it.

Does anyone else have any obsessions or habits that involve watching strangers?

Do you think it's because we are writers?


I don't so much watch strangers and wonder about them as I ponder overmuch on people I have actually encountered. But I wouldn't say I do that because I'm a writer; I'd say I am a writer because I do that. I'm often slightly perturbed by people I don't have a connection to. Most people I can get a general feel of their personality (I suppose I might gush that yes, I am rather quite empathic actually ;) ) so when I get someone I can't fully read or form a sense of, someone from whom I am quite different, it really throws me for a loop. But then, lying awake at 1AM last night, I realised: I could simply invent personalities for them. Of course then I'd have to forever interact with the fictionalised version of them - robots, serial killers, whatever. But, and in the absence of being able to actually find out who they are, it would be preferable to this interminable never-knowing. For a while. I dunno. People can be exhausting.

Taylor
December 14th, 2020, 11:13 PM
I don't so much watch strangers and wonder about them as I ponder overmuch on people I have actually encountered. But I wouldn't say I do that because I'm a writer; I'd say I am a writer because I do that.

Good answer!


Most people I can get a general feel of their personality (I suppose I might gush that yes, I am rather quite empathic actually ;) ) so when I get someone I can't fully read or form a sense of, someone from whom I am quite different, it really throws me for a loop. But then, lying awake at 1AM last night, I realised: I could simply invent personalities for them. Of course then I'd have to forever interact with the fictionalised version of them - robots, serial killers, whatever. But, and in the absence of being able to actually find out who they are, it would be preferable to this interminable never-knowing. For a while. I dunno. People can be exhausting.

Do you think when you find yourself in this situation, you could try to be less empathetic and more curious?

Olly Buckle
December 15th, 2020, 12:50 AM
Sometimes people make assumptions. My friend had five children, so was quite an older mum when she had the last. She still wasn't prepared for the woman who bent over the push chair and asked "Hello, out with Granny then?". Ouch!

My partner dislikes my habit of talking to the wrong people. You know those people that nobody makes eye contact with, well I look straight back at them and then engage. They are quite often as boring as normal people, but every so often they are really different. I have never understood why people feel threatened by the poor and the dropouts of life, they are the ones who can't cope, it's easy to deal with them. The ones to watch out for are the very rich and successful, they are the ones who get others doing things they didn't want to before they met them.

bdcharles
December 15th, 2020, 10:18 AM
Do you think when you find yourself in this situation, you could try to be less empathetic and more curious?

I probably should. But it can be hard, because with such a person, it's as if they are throwing off quite defensive, difficult, almost confrontational vibes that are hard to cut through. It's a bit like trying to be cold even though the sun is blazing hot. It wouldn't be so hard if I could just say 'oh that's not them, that's just me' but historically these first impressions and gut reactions have been borne out, so I tend to have a lot of faith in them. Again whether that's me influencing them by my reaction or not, or whether that's just my view, is hard to say but the net result is this same quite fractious mindset. Curiosity demands a more calmer mindset imo, or at least one that is less on the back foot. The best approach for me is to top that energy level with something more positive; humour, joking, high spirits, enthusiasm etc tends to work and bring them out a little, but there I have to be in the right mindset for that too, and so it goes on. If I don't get results with people fairly sharpish it's a bit of a hard sell to convince me to put much more work in (which is probably terrible. And I'm absolutely challenging that - I'm actually going to send out unreciprocated Christmas cards to people this year! :O)

Terra
December 15th, 2020, 10:47 AM
Several years ago I discovered street photography, and spent almost every Saturday with my camera (not the one on my phone) at the Market Square in my little city. The best advice I read about street photography was to find a seat and sit while the world passes me by, and take pictures of what crosses my path rather than moving around to find the picture. I learned how to watch people and capture what I saw on film aka a memory card;) I use this same advice when I'm in a group gathering with strangers, family, friends, and customers - my career over the years has been in customer service. Be still and observe, using all my senses including intuition and imagination.

I also love going to restaurants and coffee shops with my laptop to write, although it's been months since I've done that (sigh) ... I am SO ready to get back into the world again ... anyway, I eavesdrop and create stories using the tone of person's voice (without seeing what they physically look like), or a comment I hear, and so on. My most memorable coffee shop experience was observing a group of older farmers in an urban-type coffeehouse. I wasn't close enough to hear what they were talking about, but oh man, they were having FUN which became the inspiration for a 'story poem'.

Humans are amazing and as a writer (and photographer), I think it's pretty cool to have a billion or so resources at my fingertips.

Taylor
December 15th, 2020, 09:53 PM
I probably should. But it can be hard, because with such a person, it's as if they are throwing off quite defensive, difficult, almost confrontational vibes that are hard to cut through. It's a bit like trying to be cold even though the sun is blazing hot. It wouldn't be so hard if I could just say 'oh that's not them, that's just me' but historically these first impressions and gut reactions have been borne out, so I tend to have a lot of faith in them. Again whether that's me influencing them by my reaction or not, or whether that's just my view, is hard to say but the net result is this same quite fractious mindset. Curiosity demands a more calmer mindset imo, or at least one that is less on the back foot. The best approach for me is to top that energy level with something more positive; humour, joking, high spirits, enthusiasm etc tends to work and bring them out a little, but there I have to be in the right mindset for that too, and so it goes on. If I don't get results with people fairly sharpish it's a bit of a hard sell to convince me to put much more work in (which is probably terrible. And I'm absolutely challenging that - I'm actually going to send out unreciprocated Christmas cards to people this year! :O)


I could be completely off base, but when I read this it makes me think of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI). And your description, "It's a bit like trying to be cold even though the sun is blazing hot", makes me think of introverts, ISTJs, ISFJs and INTJs. And your desire to bring them out with humour and enthusiasm leads me to believe you may be an extrovert, ESTP or ESFP.

Your description also reminds me of my sister and my relationship, being that she is an ESFP and I am an INTJ. Our communications were often difficult as children and even more so in early adulthood. Then coincidentally, we both had to take the Myer-Briggs test for work. Suddenly, it all made sense! We accept that our communications styles are very different, but not for any fault, just inherent nature, me being cool, calculating and based in fact, and her being warm, emotional and based in feelings. Now we get along so much better.

Introverts tend to be slower in coming to conclusions, and they like to analyze things. So when you experience it as defensive and difficult, they may still be processing the situation, and they don't like to be pushed, hence why they may become confrontational. Extroverts process information faster and get their energy from interacting with other people, which may be why you feel the urge to "bring them out".

I learned through my studies of MBTI it's normal for people to have different communication styles. There is a ton of really good literature on this if any of it rings true for you.

IMO, whether it's MBTI or not, I think the key to not feeling so exhausted with people is to accept that people communicate differently with varied amounts of what may be perceived as energy or coolness. And it's ok! No need to adjust their or your energy level.

Hope this helps! :)

Taylor
December 15th, 2020, 10:53 PM
Sometimes people make assumptions. My friend had five children, so was quite an older mum when she had the last. She still wasn't prepared for the woman who bent over the push chair and asked "Hello, out with Granny then?". Ouch!

My partner dislikes my habit of talking to the wrong people. You know those people that nobody makes eye contact with, well I look straight back at them and then engage. They are quite often as boring as normal people, but every so often they are really different. I have never understood why people feel threatened by the poor and the dropouts of life, they are the ones who can't cope, it's easy to deal with them. The ones to watch out for are the very rich and successful, they are the ones who get others doing things they didn't want to before they met them.

Bravo...I love people like you!

My brother-in-law is a large burly man. He used to be a Outward Bound scout leader for inmates. Can you imagine being alone with a bunch of inmates in the woods? But he always sees the best in the misguided and downtrodden folks. He has a way with them too, makes them feel accepted, when perhaps they have never felt that before. I've learned a lot from him.

However, your partner has a valid concern. There are times when wayward folks can be dangerous. It takes courage to do what you do.

escorial
December 15th, 2020, 11:28 PM
People talking is a must but how they try to use the space around them is just as interesting..

Taylor
December 15th, 2020, 11:57 PM
People talking is a must but how they try to use the space around them is just as interesting..

Really? I never thought of that. Can you give us an example?

Terra
December 16th, 2020, 12:00 AM
[QUOTE=Taylor;2319563]I could be completely off base, but when I read this it makes me think of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI). And your description, "It's a bit like trying to be cold even though the sun is blazing hot", makes me think of introverts, ISTJs, ISFJs and INTJs. And your desire to bring them out with humour and enthusiasm leads me to believe you may be an extrovert, ESTP or ESFP.

Have you heard of the Enneagram nine personality types? My daughters recommended the system to me a couple of years ago, and it's quite an interesting system to understand the self, and relationships with others. This may have digressed a bit from your original thread, but your comments to bdc piqued my interest even more to the thread.

Terra
December 16th, 2020, 12:02 AM
[QUOTE=Taylor;2319563]I could be completely off base, but when I read this it makes me think of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI). And your description, "It's a bit like trying to be cold even though the sun is blazing hot", makes me think of introverts, ISTJs, ISFJs and INTJs. And your desire to bring them out with humour and enthusiasm leads me to believe you may be an extrovert, ESTP or ESFP.

Have you heard of the Enneagram nine personality types? My daughters recommended the system to me a couple of years ago, and it's quite an interesting system to understand the self, and relationships with others. This may have digressed a bit from your original thread, but your comments to bdc piqued my interest even more to the thread.

escorial
December 16th, 2020, 12:12 AM
Peopke who want you to move out of their way...sitting close to you...talking loudly...begging hotspots..there so many

Taylor
December 16th, 2020, 12:15 AM
Have you heard of the Enneagram nine personality types? My daughters recommended the system to me a couple of years ago, and it's quite an interesting system to understand the self, and relationships with others. This may have digressed a bit from your original thread, but your comments to bdc piqued my interest even more to the thread.

No, I hadn't heard of it...looks interesting. We'll see if the moderators allow it, but I think as long as we discussed with respect to fascination with people and trying to figure out what makes them tick, I think it's relevant to the thread. I'd imagine, one could apply these types while observing strangers. Certainly it would help at least to understand how you react to strangers you meet, if you know theyself.

Taylor
December 16th, 2020, 12:34 AM
Peopke who want you to move out of their way...sitting close to you...talking loudly...begging hotspots..there so many

Oh, now I see what you mean! Yes, I observe this as well. It helps in my analysis as to what the relationship between people is. For example, I love to watch people when I am laying by the pool at a resort. Dark sunglasses assist in my hidden surveillance. One common grouping is a women with children. Sometimes it's a mom, but it can also be a nanny or stepmom, or other. How closely they sit together and how loud they yell is a clue to my assessment. Sometimes, one kid is a dead ringer for the mom, so then I have guess if the other appearingly same age kid is just a friend who came along. Again the spaces around them is usually a give-away.

Of course people wanting you to get out of their way has a whole new meaning since Covid...lol!

Taylor
December 17th, 2020, 12:32 AM
Several years ago I discovered street photography, and spent almost every Saturday with my camera (not the one on my phone) at the Market Square in my little city. The best advice I read about street photography was to find a seat and sit while the world passes me by, and take pictures of what crosses my path rather than moving around to find the picture. I learned how to watch people and capture what I saw on film aka a memory card;) I use this same advice when I'm in a group gathering with strangers, family, friends, and customers - my career over the years has been in customer service. Be still and observe, using all my senses including intuition and imagination.

I also love going to restaurants and coffee shops with my laptop to write, although it's been months since I've done that (sigh) ... I am SO ready to get back into the world again ... anyway, I eavesdrop and create stories using the tone of person's voice (without seeing what they physically look like), or a comment I hear, and so on. My most memorable coffee shop experience was observing a group of older farmers in an urban-type coffeehouse. I wasn't close enough to hear what they were talking about, but oh man, they were having FUN which became the inspiration for a 'story poem'.

Humans are amazing and as a writer (and photographer), I think it's pretty cool to have a billion or so resources at my fingertips.

To be successful in customer service you must have high emotional intelligence. It's important to listen to the customer and say the things they want to hear in a way that they want to hear them. You must get a high when a customer is satisfied. You say you observe using your intuition and imagination. I find that really interesting.

Can you give an example of how you might do this?

Terra
December 18th, 2020, 04:23 AM
To be successful in customer service you must have high emotional intelligence. It's important to listen to the customer and say the things they want to hear in a way that they want to hear them. You must get a high when a customer is satisfied. You say you observe using your intuition and imagination. I find that really interesting.

Can you give an example of how you might do this?

Using my intuition is very much like empathy that bdc mentioned in his response. It's a gut feeling I get from a customer as to what sort of personality they are, which helps me help them, and yes it's an awesome feeling when a customer is happy with the service they receive.

My last job was a service advisor in a car dealership, which had an interesting mixture of customers ... the ones who know 'everything' about vehicles, the ones who pretend to know 'everything', the ones who don't trust the dealership, and so on. Listening is key, but there were times when it was more important knowing what questions to ask and how to ask them in order to determine the type of customer I was dealing with ... which all has to happen within the first minute (or less) of interaction with them. I think that's pretty standard in any situation though, not just in customer service. Reading someone's body language, facial expressions and what kind of eye contact they have, all play into it as well. So I suppose it's an amalgamation of a lot of details by observation and reading a person's energy in a very short amount of time, which sparks my intuition.

As for using my imagination ... well, I have a keen interest in human behaviour and what makes people tick. Everyone has a life happening on the other side of the counter, or in the car that just cut me off, or the clerk who was rude, or, or, or ..... I don't need to know details, but my imagination is constantly running in the background about the why's, the maybe's, the what if's. I don't intentionally do it ... it just happens. I believe my intuition and imagination work together, fueling compassion and understanding, and that's why I was so good in customer service for 30 plus years. I care about people, and I think they could tell.

Your thread starter asked if a fascination with people is because we are writers ... I can't say that is true for me because my fascination for people existed decades before I discovered a passion for writing. Now I am hoping to bring these two passions together by learning how to write and be the best writer I can be regardless of the learning curve being pure vertical.

One thought did cross my mind as I was reading through the responses and replying with my own. With the way this year has unfolded, online communities have flourished ... Does your fascination with people cross over into online? Do you try to figure out someone by how they 'talk' virtually? Can you get a vibe just by reading someone's profile? Do you use any of that information in character developments in the stories you write?

Llyralen
December 18th, 2020, 05:28 AM
Understanding and experiencing every aspect of the human condition, each individual’s experiences, is a driving force for me. I think it’s just personality. I’m into Jung’s cognitive functions and MBTI. My personality is ENFP and understanding the human condition in all of its variety is what I feel I DO and what others of my personality often do... although we don’t hard-core assume anything. People are too nuanced for that. I can tell my pure imagination apart from what I can deduct or accurately predict when I have more information at hand. Maybe you are a fellow NF type? I also think MBTI is a valuable tool for writing... as is just being interested in your fellow earthlings.

For me going to restaurants particularly triggers this in me. I have a game with my husband that started when we were at college where I will silently take a straw and point it towards a certain couple and we will discreetly guess how many dates they have had or if they have been together for years. We will discuss how much we think they like each other. The straw makes it so that we don’t have to point or stare. I like it.

When I’m swimming in a lap lane there is no way that I’m not going to wonder about the people next to me. But they give me less to go off of than watching people and their body language at restaurants.

Taylor
December 18th, 2020, 06:19 PM
Your thread starter asked if a fascination with people is because we are writers ... I can't say that is true for me because my fascination for people existed decades before I discovered a passion for writing. Now I am hoping to bring these two passions together by learning how to write and be the best writer I can be regardless of the learning curve being pure vertical.

One thought did cross my mind as I was reading through the responses and replying with my own. With the way this year has unfolded, online communities have flourished ... Does your fascination with people cross over into online? Do you try to figure out someone by how they 'talk' virtually? Can you get a vibe just by reading someone's profile? Do you use any of that information in character developments in the stories you write?

I also am fairly new to fiction. My learning curve has been steep as well. But you will learn a lot on this forum, I know I have. There are some very wise people here.

Absolutley! People's personalities come through very strongly online, particularly when they are speaking about their passions. Perhaps more than it would in person. I think because they have more time to form their opinions before responding to someone else. And of course the anonymity creates a whole new dimmnesion. Profiles are part of the picture, but mostly the posts. And I guess to answer your last question, I think we all use whatever information we get about people and how they react in our writing.

Taylor
December 18th, 2020, 07:00 PM
Understanding and experiencing every aspect of the human condition, each individualís experiences, is a driving force for me. I think itís just personality. Iím into Jungís cognitive functions and MBTI. My personality is ENFP and understanding the human condition in all of its variety is what I feel I DO and what others of my personality often do... although we donít hard-core assume anything. People are too nuanced for that. I can tell my pure imagination apart from what I can deduct or accurately predict when I have more information at hand. Maybe you are a fellow NF type? I also think MBTI is a valuable tool for writing... as is just being interested in your fellow earthlings.

I am a huge believer in the MBTI. When I learned about my own type, and that others had inherent natures a well, it changed my life! I am actually an INTJ, but I think it's the N that is conducive to writing. The N types don't just look at facts, but find a deeper meaning. I think it makes for a rich life, but sometimes it can be annoying...lol! Why do I have to stand in the grocery line and wonder why the person in front of me is buying what they are buying, and who are they buying it for....etc?

I used the MBTI in my work as an auditor. I had not actually thought about using it for my writing, but now that you mention it, makes perfect sense. How do you use it as a tool for writing?


For me going to restaurants particularly triggers this in me. I have a game with my husband that started when we were at college where I will silently take a straw and point it towards a certain couple and we will discreetly guess how many dates they have had or if they have been together for years. We will discuss how much we think they like each other. The straw makes it so that we donít have to point or stare. I like it.

This is exactly the type of thing that I would do if I could find a willing participant. As it is, I pretty much do it in my own mind.


When Iím swimming in a lap lane there is no way that Iím not going to wonder about the people next to me. But they give me less to go off of than watching people and their body language at restaurants.

I laughed out loud when I read this. There's no limit to the amount of assumptions I can make or imagine about the fellow swimmer. :)

Thanks for your post, it's good to know there are some kindred spirits out there.

Terra
December 19th, 2020, 02:09 PM
I also am fairly new to fiction. My learning curve has been steep as well. But you will learn a lot on this forum, I know I have. There are some very wise people here.

Absolutley! People's personalities come through very strongly online, particularly when they are speaking about their passions. Perhaps more than it would in person. I think because they have more time to form their opinions before responding to someone else. And of course the anonymity creates a whole new dimmnesion. Profiles are part of the picture, but mostly the posts. And I guess to answer your last question, I think we all use whatever information we get about people and how they react in our writing.

I love this place! Lately it seems I've been reading on the fly though and not doing very much interaction, so I appreciate this thread and your questions to everyone.

Truth? I had to 'formulate' my reply to your question because intuition and imagination have become so natural, I didn't know how to explain it. Self-awareness plays a HUGE part in how we see and relate to other people. Any of the personality tests reveal who WE are, and we are the only ones who can say "yep, that's me", or "ummm really? I had no idea!" If we don't know ourselves and the different aspects of what makes us tick, how can ever begin to relate to other people ..... AND write a character that has any kind of depth.

Llyralen
December 23rd, 2020, 09:52 AM
I am a huge believer in the MBTI. When I learned about my own type, and that others had inherent natures a well, it changed my life! I am actually an INTJ, but I think it's the N that is conducive to writing. The N types don't just look at facts, but find a deeper meaning. I think it makes for a rich life, but sometimes it can be annoying...lol! Why do I have to stand in the grocery line and wonder why the person in front of me is buying what they are buying, and who are they buying it for....etc?

I used the MBTI in my work as an auditor. I had not actually thought about using it for my writing, but now that you mention it, makes perfect sense. How do you use it as a tool for writing?

How would you use it as an auditor is my question? lol
But for writing I really find so many uses.
1. Consistency and/or relatability of character that also feels "real". For example, my husband started writing a character that I typed ISTP and later in a certain situation the ISTP started to talk like a INFP. I picked up on that immediately as entirely improbable and told my husband that wouldn't work. He said the character was growing and changing and I said that's not how that character would grow or change. So... he is justifiably annoyed with that. As a writer of fictional characters they can change type like people in real life cannot, but I never like that. I actually think that the plot and the characters and the theme and everything you're trying to accomplish in the book should work together as it would in reality.

2. There are natural story arches for each type and I find these inspiring. You do find these naturally in movies or stories when you see a character that you feel reflects people that you know. There is an amazing tension and potential for growth between someone's best function and their very last function. I see the best writers who have found stories to write about this tension. Greta Gerwig is an example of my type who has written really poignantly about the tension between our top function and what is learned moving towards the last function. A great example is Jo March's story ( Louisa May Alcott was also an ENFP it seems obvious to me) or LadyBird. One of the tensions in my own type is the need to constantly explore new aspects of life and accomplish ideals and aspirations (like writing or opening a school for the underprivileged) while also feeling torn with a longing for home and love.

We just watched "The Family Man" where the ENTJ (Nick Cage) had a growth curve to learn how to put money, worldly goods, ambition, power away to make a decision to be a family man (present husband and father). In the end I think the writer couldn't stand for his character not to have both. It seemed to set it up for them to be a very rich family. But anyway... ambition and material gain immediately versus a loving future family I would think could sum up a natural growth curve and tension for an ENTJ.

3. I use it to hopefully test some of my blind spots in my writing. Like can I zero in on a plot and make sure to focus my writing for others to follow? Can I unify my themes more? (These 2 things, btw, plot and unified theme, would likely be your strengths in writing as an INTJ). Self-growth and self-awareness would also hopefully help me with finishing things rather than always starting new ones (another huge growth curves for ENFPs.)




I laughed out loud when I read this. There's no limit to the amount of assumptions I can make or imagine about the fellow swimmer. :)

Thanks for your post, it's good to know there are some kindred spirits out there.

I think this is a bit of a quirk of mine, I can put myself into any imaginary circumstance or someone I know very well into imaginary circumstances or characters I make up put into those circumstances. But I want the person next to me to be a real person and I want to learn real things from them so I kind of separate the two. I want to see REAL patterns in the people at the restaurants and also in the person swimming next to me. I want their real life circumstances and the information I glean from watching them to serve as real-life inspiration. The more I know about them then the more I could throw THEM (not imaginary them the way I see it) into an imaginary circumstance. I don't think that's a common thought... but I actually DO think real life is stranger than fiction. So bring on the real life situations. People's real lives sometimes absolutely floor me.

And yes! I feel the kindred spiritness! I'm new here so do people "friend" others? Show me the ropes! =)

Taylor
December 23rd, 2020, 07:41 PM
How would you use it as an auditor is my question? lol
But for writing I really find so many uses.

As a writer of fictional characters they can change type like people in real life cannot, but I never like that. I actually think that the plot and the characters and the theme and everything you're trying to accomplish in the book should work together as it would in reality.

As an auditor, you deal with gathering information. Yes you can find it in the numbers, but it takes a long time to pinpoint and analyze errors. It is much more efficient to interview. MBTI is great for interviewing, knowing how to say things to get the most informative answer. Also, depending on the type of audit, there can be a lot of push back, so it is very useful for people management during conflict.

I had not thought of using it for writing in that way, but I see it can be a great guide for character development. Another thing that comes to mind would be to make sure you write your POVs in a number of types, and not just your own type with which you are most comfortable. I am also a big believer in imitating reality in my fiction writing. I base my stories and characters on real events and real people, so it would not be hard in advance to set out the MBTI for each character, and make sure their actions are consistent with their type. Thanks for the tip!


Greta Gerwig is an example of my type who has written really poignantly about the tension between our top function and what is learned moving towards the last function.

Not sure I follow, can you explain?


One of the tensions in my own type is the need to constantly explore new aspects of life and accomplish ideals and aspirations (like writing or opening a school for the underprivileged) while also feeling torn with a longing for home and love.

Ah yes the perfect Idealist Champion!


3. I use it to hopefully test some of my blind spots in my writing. Like can I zero in on a plot and make sure to focus my writing for others to follow? Can I unify my themes more? (These 2 things, btw, plot and unified theme, would likely be your strengths in writing as an INTJ). Self-growth and self-awareness would also hopefully help me with finishing things rather than always starting new ones (another huge growth curves for ENFPs.)

It's funny you would mention that because, I have a fellow author (ISFJ) who I meet with regularly for support. Once before starting to write a novel, I showed her my binder that I keep with copious notes on plotlines, timelines, character motivation, etc. and my various methodologies to make sure everything ties together at the end and supports the theme. She just looked at me and said, "write chapter one!". It's also the thing that inhibits me, because I am fearful to write something incoherent. So, I guess my growth curve as a writer would be to let it flow, and not worry about it so much.


... but I actually DO think real life is stranger than fiction. So bring on the real life situations. People's real lives sometimes absolutely floor me.

Totally agree! Hense my fascination with people. I'm really bad about reading those magazines, that follow famous people...lol!


And yes! I feel the kindred spiritness! I'm new here so do people "friend" others? Show me the ropes! =)

Yes, they do. You invite people from your profile, I'll send you one!

BrandonTheWriter
January 4th, 2021, 07:51 PM
I'm not sure this post is in the right thread but I believe it has to do with character development.

Now and even before I started writing fiction, I have this habit that I cannot control. When I see people together, I try to figure out what the relationship is between them. I watch them surreptitiously to see if I can spot a gesture or look that indicates their connection. It doesn't have to be a couple, it can be any number of people and of all ages. Of course some are easier than others, so I find myself seeking out the less obvious groupings.

I don't know why I do it. But I have long since stopped trying to control it.

Does anyone else have any obsessions or habits that involve watching strangers?

Do you think it's because we are writers?

Late to the thread, but I am exactly like this. I have been this way since a young child. I am very aware of my surroundings and whilst I have always been a quiet person, I am always aware of the people around me and I have always tried to figure people out without knowing much about them.

I have actually had to hold off before when speaking to people, because I know more about them than I let on. Which sounds creepy now I think of it. I just remember a lot of small things, and in School I remember picking up a lot of details about people just from overhearing conversations.

I have always been good at remembering small details about people. I have often times used those things for inspiration when I write.

Taylor
January 4th, 2021, 09:14 PM
Late to the thread, but I am exactly like this. I have been this way since a young child. I am very aware of my surroundings and whilst I have always been a quiet person, I am always aware of the people around me and I have always tried to figure people out without knowing much about them.

I have actually had to hold off before when speaking to people, because I know more about them than I let on. Which sounds creepy now I think of it. I just remember a lot of small things, and in School I remember picking up a lot of details about people just from overhearing conversations.

I have always been good at remembering small details about people. I have often times used those things for inspiration when I write.

It's good to know there are some kindred spirits out there! I am also very quiet. When I was younger, I used to be quite self-conscious about it. My parents used to push me to speak to people, apologizing for me and saying that I was just shy! I never liked the word shy.

Google Definition: Shy - "being reserved or having or showing nervousness or timidity in the company of other people."

I never felt that way. Like you, I was just more interested in trying to figure people out. How can you do that if you’re the one doing all the talking? And then as an adult, I felt that the noisy people were getting ahead faster. For awhile... But then at some point, I started to use my ability to read people in a powerful way. Most people crave to be heard; recognized; understood. Once I started to be more comfortable with my quietness, and my ability to read people, life got a whole lot more interesting. I was able to achieve some very significant things in my career, while supporting others and understanding their needs.

In time, I learned that quiet and silent aren’t the same thing. That’s what I love about writing. One can be quiet, and still have a significant impact.

I'm not one, but I have heard that psychologists make great novelists. Of course they would, they have spent their careers trying to understand people’s motivation.

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/8445.Best_Psychologist_Novelists

TheMightyAz
January 16th, 2021, 07:11 PM
I'm not sure this post is in the right thread but I believe it has to do with character development.

Now and even before I started writing fiction, I have this habit that I cannot control. When I see people together, I try to figure out what the relationship is between them. I watch them surreptitiously to see if I can spot a gesture or look that indicates their connection. It doesn't have to be a couple, it can be any number of people and of all ages. Of course some are easier than others, so I find myself seeking out the less obvious groupings.

I don't know why I do it. But I have long since stopped trying to control it.

Does anyone else have any obsessions or habits that involve watching strangers?

Do you think it's because we are writers?

Brother!

Easy-Eight
January 16th, 2021, 08:27 PM
I believe it may be just a general fascination with people. I as a writer don't do this. I believe that it is because when I am in public, I generally try to be quick in public. Or that I am hanging out with friends or family and I am just too busy to worry about what other people around me. But I guess, in the very few times that I am in public alone I tend to listen to music. But sometime I do look around and see how people act in public. But I try not to look at people in specific, more about the scene, like I will go into a restaurant and try to write there, maybe just write a quick short story, make up some characters and get ideas.

This sounds like just random rambling. But these are my thoughts on the topic. Just try not to stare at people too long lmao, it tends to look weird. Not trying to insult you, but people just take things the wrong ways.

indianroads
January 16th, 2021, 10:53 PM
For me the fascination isn't just with people - it's places and experiences as well. I kept journals for years, and would write about the people I met, and interesting places I've visited and the experiences I've had.

I ride a motorcycle, and while riding I describe the scenery and the sensations of riding that I experience. That brings me into the moment, and I think helps me with my writing.

Taylor
January 16th, 2021, 11:40 PM
I believe it may be just a general fascination with people. I as a writer don't do this. I believe that it is because when I am in public, I generally try to be quick in public. Or that I am hanging out with friends or family and I am just too busy to worry about what other people around me. But I guess, in the very few times that I am in public alone I tend to listen to music. But sometime I do look around and see how people act in public. But I try not to look at people in specific, more about the scene, like I will go into a restaurant and try to write there, maybe just write a quick short story, make up some characters and get ideas.

This sounds like just random rambling. But these are my thoughts on the topic. Just try not to stare at people too long lmao, it tends to look weird. Not trying to insult you, but people just take things the wrong ways.

Wise advice...not insulted at all! But like most obsessions, I have learned how to do this without detection.

I like the idea of writing in a restaurant or public place. I hope to try that once the lock-down is over. So many luxuries we took for granted eh?

Easy-Eight
January 25th, 2021, 01:41 PM
Wise advice...not insulted at all! But like most obsessions, I have learned how to do this without detection.

I like the idea of writing in a restaurant or public place. I hope to try that once the lock-down is over. So many luxuries we took for granted eh?

Agreed...the fact that I can't go out in public and write, or just go in public at all and really do anything is very disappointing. You are very right, we took it for granted and I think it is going to be a very long time before we get those luxuries back. :/

Taylor
January 25th, 2021, 01:48 PM
Agreed...the fact that I can't go out in public and write, or just go in public at all and really do anything is very disappointing. You are very right, we took it for granted and I think it is going to be a very long time before we get those luxuries back. :/

Agree! I wonder if any of the authors who write dystopian stories ever imagined this setting.

Easy-Eight
January 25th, 2021, 02:03 PM
Agree! I wonder if any of the authors who write dystopian stories ever imagined this setting.

I tend to write dystopian, or often times very gritty stories. But I never would have imagined this type of setting.

Taylor
January 25th, 2021, 05:07 PM
I tend to write dystopian, or often times very gritty stories. But I never would have imagined this type of setting.

Perhaps it can serve as inspiration!

Easy-Eight
January 25th, 2021, 06:23 PM
Perhaps it can serve as inspiration!

How so? I am still kicking around some ideas in my head. But I would definitely be open to hearing some of yours!

Taylor
January 25th, 2021, 06:34 PM
How so? I am still kicking around some ideas in my head. But I would definitely be open to hearing some of yours!

Well, I'm not a distopian writer. But I think exploring the whole political issue would be intersting. For example you could explore what would actually cause the virus to begin with. Was it man tampering with nature? Or perhaps someone in the lab was a disgruntled employee, and spread it on their way out. And how long will it last? What will be the global outcome? I think for a dystopian writer, it would be like being a kid in a candy store.

Easy-Eight
January 25th, 2021, 06:42 PM
Well, I'm not a distopian writer. But I think exploring the whole political issue would be intersting. For example you could explore what would actually cause the virus to begin with. Was it man tampering with nature? Or perhaps someone in the lab was a disgruntled employee, and spread it on their way out. And how long will it last? What will be the global outcome? I think for a dystopian writer, it would be like being a kid in a candy store.

That would be something cool to experiment with. I am currently working on something more political in nature, It's a really rough, rough draft. I'll post it if you can point me in the direction to where I could post it.

I write more, really dark in nature stories. I like the grit, the thought and stuff like that. I like to write using the mindset of human nature, if that makes any sense .

Taylor
January 25th, 2021, 07:09 PM
That would be something cool to experiment with. I am currently working on something more political in nature, It's a really rough, rough draft. I'll post it if you can point me in the direction to where I could post it.

I write more, really dark in nature stories. I like the grit, the thought and stuff like that. I like to write using the mindset of human nature, if that makes any sense .

Here:

https://www.writingforums.com/forums/11-Fiction-Workshop

https://www.writingforums.com/forums/26-Fiction-Showcase

ideasmith
February 22nd, 2021, 02:39 AM
I think it impossible to write good stories about people without having watched and interacted with a lot of people.

Taylor
February 23rd, 2021, 12:11 PM
I think it impossible to write good stories about people without having watched and interacted with a lot of people.

People watching is one of my favorite past times. Interesting that you must interact as well. Do you know if you are an introvert or extrovert?

ideasmith
February 23rd, 2021, 02:59 PM
People watching is one of my favorite past times. Interesting that you must interact as well. Do you know if you are an introvert or extrovert?

I’m not entirely introverted, but I’m closer to that end of things than to extroversion. However, I’ve always been a careful people watcher. I feel - from personal experience - that interaction is equally important to understanding people. Each will show things that the other cannot, including whether a person is hiding something about themself. Not necessarily something nefarious..an insecurity perhaps, which they may try to conceal as best they can out of a sense self-protection. You might be able to observe it, but how much better to also interact with that person?

You could watch movies of people riding horses and see things you couldn’t from the saddle..but...to ride the horse yourself....

Taylor
February 23rd, 2021, 04:52 PM
I’m not entirely introverted, but I’m closer to that end of things than to extroversion. However, I’ve always been a careful people watcher. I feel - from personal experience - that interaction is equally important to understanding people. Each will show things that the other cannot, including whether a person is hiding something about themself. Not necessarily something nefarious..an insecurity perhaps, which they may try to conceal as best they can out of a sense self-protection. You might be able to observe it, but how much better to also interact with that person?

You could watch movies of people riding horses and see things you couldn’t from the saddle..but...to ride the horse yourself....

So true! I think we all try to hide things about ourselves. I know I do. And then sometimes it rears its ugly head!

indianroads
February 24th, 2021, 12:38 AM
People often wear masks.

I've been told that I seem extroverted when I teach, but in truth that's not the way I am at all. I've given martial art demonstrations (and competed) in front of hundreds of people; I'm nervous and uncertain until I step out on the stage, then the mask is donned and I'm off to the races.

So, what we see may not be who they are.

druid12000
February 24th, 2021, 01:37 AM
People often wear masks.

I've been told that I seem extroverted when I teach, but in truth that's not the way I am at all. I've given martial art demonstrations (and competed) in front of hundreds of people; I'm nervous and uncertain until I step out on the stage, then the mask is donned and I'm off to the races.

So, what we see may not be who they are.

This reminds me of the Billy Joel song 'The Stranger'

Well we all have a face
That we hide away forever
And we take them out
And show ourselves
When everyone has gone
Some are satin some are steel
Some are silk and some are leather
They're the faces of the stranger
But we love to try them on

Taylor
February 24th, 2021, 06:28 AM
People often wear masks.

I've been told that I seem extroverted when I teach, but in truth that's not the way I am at all. I've given martial art demonstrations (and competed) in front of hundreds of people; I'm nervous and uncertain until I step out on the stage, then the mask is donned and I'm off to the races.

So, what we see may not be who they are.

I had a similar experience when I taught business at a university for eight years. People thought I was an extrovert as well. After my day job, I'd put on my show face and give two hour evening lectures. You must be more of an extrovert, because for me, it was always painful. Not sure why I kept doing it...I thought it would get better. I don't even think I realized how much I hated it, until one semester my sessions were cancelled, due to a change in program. I remember the program director calling me to say how sorry she was and that she would double up my session next semester. After I hung up the phone, I was dancing around the kitchen and then I realized -- I didn't need to do it anymore.

Sometimes people act at something because they think they should.

indianroads
February 24th, 2021, 06:39 AM
I believe that writers are often solitary creatures. We communicate through a third party - our books and stories - because that is the medium where we are most comfortable.

Maybe I'm wrong - I don't want to contribute to thread drift, so this is just a thought. Let's get back on topic.

Writers have to be interested in other people, their lives, their beliefs, what drives them to be as they are, because without that, how could we possibly construct believable characters in our work?

Taylor
February 24th, 2021, 06:52 AM
I believe that writers are often solitary creatures. We communicate through a third party - our books and stories - because that is the medium where we are most comfortable.

Maybe I'm wrong - I don't want to contribute to thread drift, so this is just a thought. Let's get back on topic.

Writers have to be interested in other people, their lives, their beliefs, what drives them to be as they are, because without that, how could we possibly construct believable characters in our work?

I agree and I think introverts tend to be more aware of other people. They sit back quietly watching the world go by. Not focused on themselves...but focused on others. I know I can go to a party and just sit in the corner observing. But how boring would that be if we were all introverts. Thank goodness for extroverts! Thank goodness for all the uniqueness of human beings!

druid12000
February 24th, 2021, 01:54 PM
I agree and I think introverts tend to be more aware of other people. They sit back quietly watching the world go by. Not focused on themselves...but focused on others. I know I can go to a party and just sit in the corner observing. But how boring would that be if we were all introverts. Thank goodness for extroverts! Thank goodness for all the uniqueness of human beings!

Agreed, and I think empathy is a crucial component as well. I find myself lingering on people and my own characters, to try to be in their shoes.

TheMightyAz
February 24th, 2021, 02:18 PM
I don't see why you'd even want to write if you didn't have a fascination with people. In the same way, I don't understand why you'd want to write if you aren't already filled with stories to tell.

Olly Buckle
February 26th, 2021, 11:19 PM
I don't see why you'd even want to write if you didn't have a fascination with people. In the same way, I don't understand why you'd want to write if you aren't already filled with stories to tell.

It's not all just stories you know. Some people write sermons, laws, instruction manuals, guide books, seed catalogues, advertising slogans and more, and nary a story among them :)

TheMightyAz
February 26th, 2021, 11:21 PM
It's not all just stories you know. Some people write sermons, laws, instruction manuals, guide books, seed catalogues, advertising slogans and more, and nary a story among them :)

Pedant!

Olly Buckle
February 26th, 2021, 11:26 PM
Pedant!

Telephone directories, I forgot telephone directories, and best men's speeches.

TheMightyAz
February 26th, 2021, 11:28 PM
Telephone directories, I forgot telephone directories, and best men's speeches.

Have you mentioned sermons? Oh, yeah, you've already mentioned those ... :)

Olly Buckle
February 26th, 2021, 11:47 PM
And if you know nothing about punctuation you can still write road signs :)

TheMightyAz
February 26th, 2021, 11:49 PM
And if you know nothing about punctuation you can still write road signs :)



https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f9/STOP_sign.jpg

Taylor
February 27th, 2021, 12:27 AM
It's not all just stories you know. Some people write sermons, laws, instruction manuals, guide books, seed catalogues, advertising slogans and more, and nary a story among them :)

Thanks for recognizing us technical writers Olly! Sometimes I feel left out...lol! I'm currently under contract to develop manuals and training materials for the government, linked to new Covid requirements.

Funny thing is, my fascination with people is helping me do it. Because as part of the training we write scripts for scenarios, and try to identify why someone may purposefully or inadvertently not follow the rules. You really have to dissect people's motivations. Ok, I'm going to toot my own horn here, as you have given me the platform. I have actually become a specialist in this area and have won awards for my writing of policy training materials. Mostly, because I recognized a huge gap in training about 10 years ago, that most training in the areas of policy focused on gross fraud. Those cases are so few and far between. Most employees come into contact with more mild cases of policy breach, like minor cheating on expense accounts, inadvertently breaking confidentiality, or simple mistakes due to not knowing where to find guidance.

When I taught the sessions, I would watch people carefully to see their reaction when they internally realised that they may have inadvertently broken a rule. You could read it in their eyes. In time I learned to warn people in advance of training not to share any personal experiences to prevent them from exposing themselves in class.

But I think my fascination with people without doubt makes me a better writer of policy and training.

Hewlett
February 28th, 2021, 03:47 AM
I usually figure out the ending early on and blurt it out...which really pisses him off.

This is interesting. Do you happen to watch a lot of movies, or would you say this is something you pull off naturally?

Taylor
February 28th, 2021, 04:35 AM
I usually figure out the ending early on and blurt it out...which really pisses him off.

This is interesting. Do you happen to watch a lot of movies, or would you say this is something you pull off naturally?

I don't watch that many movies. But I have a very analytical mind, so looking for clues is something I do naturally.

Hewlett
February 28th, 2021, 04:54 AM
I don't watch that many movies. But I have a very analytical mind, so looking for clues is something I do naturally.

Ah. I ask because figuring out movie endings is something more of a trait an experienced movie watcher has. It's not something you can easily acquire just by reading tons of books, or winning the Nobel for a book you've written, when watching film consistently isn't your thing.

Taylor
February 28th, 2021, 04:59 AM
Ah. I ask because figuring out movie endings is something more of a trait an experienced movie watcher has. It's not something you can easily acquire just by reading tons of books, or winning the Nobel for a book you've written, when watching film consistently isn't your thing.

Ah yes, but I am an auditor by profession, so I think that gives me an edge. :)

Hewlett
February 28th, 2021, 06:01 AM
Ah yes, but I am an auditor by profession, so I think that gives me an edge. :)

You stated that you use your analytical mind though. :confused:

I am sure you must be a very busy person working for the government as a writer, and working in one of the most demanding jobs in the film industry. Good luck.

Taylor
February 28th, 2021, 09:33 AM
You stated that you use your analytical mind though. :confused:

I am sure you must be a very busy person working for the government as a writer, and working in one of the most demanding jobs in the film industry. Good luck.

Yes, I hold a CPA designation, and as an auditor I analyze things.

I am currently only on a temporary contract for the government writing training materials for financial staff and other staff involved with policy and controls. The scripts I speak of are for training videos, not full-blown movie scripts. Perhaps the word script caused the confusion, but that's what we call them. I don't work in the film industry.

Thanks for asking.

EDIT: When I said "early on", I meant earlier than the very ending...not early on in the movie. Perhaps that was confusing also. Words can get in the way. :)

Hewlett
February 28th, 2021, 09:37 PM
Yes, I hold a CPA designation, and as an auditor I analyze things.

I am currently only on a temporary contract for the government writing training materials for financial staff and other staff involved with policy and controls. The scripts I speak of are for training videos, not full-blown movie scripts. Perhaps the word script caused the confusion, but that's what we call them. I don't work in the film industry.

Thanks for asking.

EDIT: When I said "early on", I meant earlier than the very ending...not early on in the movie. Perhaps that was confusing also. Words can get in the way. :)



So, you don't have an edge after all. If you don't work auditing in the film business, not sure your auditing for something else would be relevant here.

I wasn't confused. But any hoo.

Taylor
February 28th, 2021, 10:07 PM
So, you don't have an edge after all. If you don't work auditing in the film business, not sure your auditing for something else would be relevant here.

I wasn't confused. But any hoo.

Ok, my apologies. :)

I may have overstated my ability, but I still think being a CPA gives me an edge on picking up obvious foreshadowing. I could be wrong...

But thanks for calling me out. ;)

Do you know much about auditing and/or do you have experience in the film industry?

EDIT: I don't see how auditing in the film industry is relevant to this conversation.