A couple of nights ago I was wasting time on Facebook. (No surprise there!) I was looking through a friend’s friend list, and realized he had a pretty eclectic group of people on there.
And that got me to thinking. (No smart comments, please.) It could be somewhat useful to click through a few lists, land on a random profile, and just look at what that stranger likes. It’s amazing what a few tidbits of information (pictures, music, books, movies, quotations) can say about a person.
Why could this be useful? For me, it broadened the possibilities as I am fleshing out new characters. It also took me to places where real people are living right now: New York, Maine, Hawaii, Texas, and South Africa to name a few.
I have no idea how I landed on these pages, but I found a large group of young friends that are from the same province in South Africa. I wondered about them and the area they call home. Why are they there? What did their parents do for a living? What kind of life do they live? Do they dream of living somewhere else, or do they love it there?
If you find your creativity has gone missing, try this. I started with my friends list. I clicked on one friend and glanced at her friend list. I clicked on one of her friends and then picked someone off his friend list. I did this until I found something that caught my eye. (I just tried it again and found a Samoan metalhead, a guy that hunts mushrooms, an announcer for a pro basketball team, and another that enjoys rebuilding antique airplanes.)
Would you ever think to create a character that loves The Zombie Survival Guide AND Tuesdays with Morrie?? I didn’t think so.