A warning for people who confess their lives on their cell phones as they walk at the gym, discuss what the doctor said as they’re waiting in line for coffee, or tell their friends at the next table the terms of their divorce: writers are always listening.
I personally do not usually use fodder from other people (little bits of conversations, mannerisms, etc), but some writers are foragers. They take little tidbits and mannerisms from other people and drag it back to their creation to give it that little extra something.
Writers are sponges. We soak up little nuances people didn’t know they have or things they didn’t even know existed. We can capture essences of people and their lives just by sitting with them.
We can live on people watching alone. While I don’t use the information I hear in public for stories, being around people can be the water that turns the wheel that generates electricity in the mill.
So as you’re about to vent or gossip in public, just remember you could be around a writer. They could be reading or talking to someone, but they hear you. We home in on weird conversations, the ones most people would say, “Why are you talking about that in public?” or “Whoa I came in at the wrong time.” We love those. They’re prompts for stories or just to get things stirring again.
Who said there are starving artists? Just depends what you’re feeding us.