People Watching by Patricia Forsythe

As most other writers do, I find people endlessly fascinating.  It’s a rare treat when I can sit in a park or at a shopping mall and watch people in their natural or unnatural habitat.  Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve observed people and their interesting behaviors.  The odd thing is that, wherever I go, people are pretty much the same and I think that’s why we can understand them when we encounter them in books. 

Some examples are:
The young mother attempting to herd several small children through the supermarket.  Their idea of acceptable behavior is very different from hers. 

The impatient guy standing in line at the drugstore with his outsize iPhone tucked into the back of his T-shirt neck because it’s too big to fit into any pocket of his tight jeans.  He jumps and slaps at his neck every time it pings or rings.
The clueless guy at the airport who parks himself and his very important briefcase exactly in front of the gate where departing passengers are coming in so that they have to step awkwardly around him.

These people end up as characters in books because they add authenticity to our stories, and usually some fun. You’ve probably read about a character in a book and thought, “Oh, yeah, I know that guy.”

In the book I’m planning now, I’ve got a character who lives in a rural, wooded area which is overrun by turtles every spring to the delight of the local kids.  My character enjoys holding turtle races for them, much to the chagrin of the man in her life, a city boy.
The best thing about people watching is that you can’t really rush it.  You have to sit still and observe, put down the cellphone or the book, and just watch and relax. I think I’ll go find a park bench.

Patricia Forsythe is the author of many romances, both traditionally and electronically published.  Her most recent book was Her Lone Cowboy, a Harlequin Heartwarming novel which became available in June 2015.  Currently, she has a novella in the Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 ebook anthology available at most online retailers.  Visit her at


  1. You make me wish I had an airport visit coming up--that's my favorite place for it!

  2. Patricia and Liz, I'll think of you when I am in Toronto Pearson airport this evening to catch a flight to Ottawa. I might even do some people watching!

  3. Yes, people watching is so entertaining. I observe folks all of the time. If I were a writer, most of my material would probably originate from that favorite past-time.

  4. Patti, I love people watching. I also like to eavesdrop on their conversations. Or sit across the room and try and imagine what two people in a restaurant are saying to each other.

  5. It's such fun to people watch. A few years ago, I started a new job, and it's the first time I've worked in a cubicle environment. Boy, do you hear some great fodder. I try to hide my note-taking from my coworkers. :)

  6. Love to people watch. Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking when they're people-watching me! Especially after I trip over that briefcase. Or when I'm dripping pizza sauce or dribbling coffee on my shirt... LOL!

  7. Turtle races. Sounds like a very fun pastime. Good luck on your newest book.

  8. That's my favorite part of writing, too - the observing to find that one little quirk of the human condition that can inspire a story. It never develops as brilliantly as it is forms in my head, but I guess that's writing - working at it until it does. Maybe in the next book.


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