Collecting good material is all part of the writing process. Here are a few of the ways I gather mine.
First, I’m always on the lookout for new words (new to me, that is) to use in my writing someday. Yesterday I added “flumped” and “clots” to my list just because they made me smile.
I also collect phrases–mostly from listening to my quick-witted husband. I keep a small spiral pad with me at all times. When he speaks, I take notes. (It’s not really stealing if it’s common property; we are ONE after all.)
Unfortunately, he does not provide this service on demand. He says, “I have no idea when something useful will float to the surface of the muck and mire. You have to take what you get.” Watching his mind work is pure genius . . . and a little bit scary.
I also eavesdrop on conversations–in restaurants, at church, while shopping, at meetings. Some might accuse me of being nosy; without hesitation, I admit I’m guilty.
People-watching is kin to eavesdropping, but you can do that from afar. My husband calls it “rubbernecking;” I call it research. Many of my characters have been dressed in the get-ups I’ve seen while walking through a public place.
Then there are my co-workers, friends and family. In my latest book, Party of One, some of my friends and family may recognize a few of their own quirks and characteristics. (I do hope they will forgive me.)
And I’m certain they will recognize mine.