Alisha Paige’s Favorite Hobby Is What?

People watching. Every single person has their quirks and this is what I’m looking for, as well as listening to vocabulary, slang and interesting physical traits.

Next time you stop at Starbucks to get a cup of coffee, do what I do. Before you open your laptop and start writing like mad, sip your hot java and watch for a bit. The characters in your current WIP may change before your eyes…literally! Watch the adorable elderly couple and imagine them forty years before. Notice how he still opens the door for her and helps her to her seat. Notice how there’s not a hair out of place and her red lipstick is applied with perfection. Catch a whiff of his cologne and imagine them having a picnic in their youth. It’s not hard.

Watch the mom toting three kids, her hair pulled back into a messy ponytail, juggling a baby on her hip, shushing a toddler and scolding a teen insisting on buying another CD. BTW, that mom is me. Watch as her husband takes the baby for her, kisses him on the cheek and buys a chocolate milk for the four year old. Notice how he pats his wife on the behind when he thinks no one is looking. A frazzled mom turns into a sexpot kitten and you can imagine what the two of them will do when the teen heads over to a friend’s house tonight and they put the little ones to bed.

Watch as she kisses his scruffy cheek and tells him to wait another day before shaving. “I was hoping to get some, tonight,” He half whispers as he adds a ridiculous amount of sugar to his coffee. Remember, you’re still sitting there pretending to work on your masterpiece when really you’re recording all kinds of cool characteristics for your current hero and heroine and all secondary characters. Pay close attention. Notice how worn his hands are and the tan lines. He’s a laborer. Watch him smile and see that crooked tooth that would have any dentist charging you half a week’s paycheck to fix and realize that it makes him sexier. Hear the snort at the end of her laugh and write it down. It’s cute. Goofy, but cute.

Watch the woman in her forties stroll through the door in workout clothes and no make-up. Write it down. Make-up would cover up this woman’s true beauty. Notice the mole on her face and her sexy laugh lines. Her skin is as pale as milk but a tanning bed would conceal her glorious complexion. Notice how she sings to herself as she chooses a bag of coffee to purchase. And write down what kind she buys. She chooses a dark roasted full bodied bean. What does this mean? Plain Jane, workout queen picked the heartiest flavor of all. The bitter stuff that makes your toes curl. There’s much more to her beneath the surface. You need to scratch at it and find it. Find it all. Uncover her layers and see what lies beneath. 

This is what we must do with our characters and people watching is a terrific exercise when forming our characters. Remember little quirks that made you fall in love with your own lover. Write them down. Use them. There’s no better way for a writer to honor another. And on the flip side of the coin, remember all the villians you’ve come across in life. You better believe that I have and I use their wicked traits in my books and it’s oh so lovely to kill these people off. Yes, I might be a little nuts but I haven’t met a writer who isn’t..just a tad.

So, here’s your assignment…go forth my wonderful readers and people watch to your heart’s content! Do it at a restaurant, a coffee shop, a bar, the grocery store, the beach…ooooh, yes, the beach is a good place for my favorite hobby…especially on a warm summer day.

Have a wonderful weekend,

~Alisha Paige

You can find me at

You can find Alisha’s latest novel, The Prey That Got Away. The true life story of 15-year-old Betty Lee Hanson who escaped serial killer, Ralph Andrews on Christmas night, 1973.



  1. Thanks for being on the blog today Alisha. And yes, I LOVE to people watch myself. In airports, I sit and make up stories about why each person is there and where they’re going. In restaurants, I like to listen to people talk because it helps me make the dialogue in my books better. People don’t talk in complete sentences. When I plot I like to use things that could never happen because to me that makes the plot more interesting. No one likes to read boring.

  2. Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Sylvia! Isn’t people watching so much fun? I remember as a small child my grandma would tell me how much she loved to watch people when we went to the lake. She kinda taught me the art of! I listen to how people talk too. It really helps when writing dialogue. I love to listen to people talk from other parts of the world and hear all their different slang and expressions. You’re right. No one likes to read boring or unrealistic dialogue.

    At the end of the day I will draw one lucky winner from all the comments. Reader’s choice from my books at 🙂

  3. Hi, Alisha! I love to people watch too! I’ve concocted several characters based on what I see. Doesn’t that make you wonder what others see in you???

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