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When it comes to the phrase "The holidays" for a prompt, whats the first things you think of? (It's automatically "Winter" Holidays) Christmas. Hanukah. New Year's Eve. Perhaps Thanksgiving. And then what? Family. Friends. Santa. Presents. Shopping sprees. And the lots more. The holidays are a great season to get ideas from real life because it is practically like a *prompt* that's specific enough, yet broad enough to write from.
A really boring and simple method is to Google "holidays", gather all the results, and do a stream of consciousness writing. I personally have problems with stream of consciousness cause I don't really get anywhere and I know quite a few friends who also get stuck so I don't really recommend this method.
What I think is a cooler idea is to go downtown or some place where there are bound to be lots of "Holidays" events like skating rinks, grocery stores, food banks, homeless shelters, which actually are really interesting but I won't make any judgements. I also especially suggest retail chain stores because they often have cheesy "Holiday" sales promotions with Santa Clause vendors passing out flyers and junk and sometimes ridiculous things happen like kids pulling off Santa's beard.
Start off with looking at charity people and homeless people around downtown or shopping center Holiday events. You will notice a kind of pattern in the number of them in the morning vers. evening, yet often both types of people are doing the same thing- asking for money for someone who needs help. Observe the differences between them, observe the similarities. Spend several minutes to observe their appearances, their speech, their mannerisms, the attention they receive. Notice the tiny details. Just by describing these two types of people can be rich material for characterization exercises and, in fact, opening up a story.
One memorable thing I mentioned earlier was to focus on Holiday vendors. This means, yes, people who are passing out samples or flyers or attractions in Christmas spirit costumes or something. I hate to suggest wasting several hours to observe them, but if you ever get the opportunity to do so, do. Or maybe check up on them every other hour as you, haha, do shopping. Once again, notice their get up, mannerisms, attitude when alone vs coworkers vs customers vs people who ignore them, and, especially, energy and attention as time goes by. No joke. I actually work as a temporary Holiday vendor for a perfume line, advertising and jeweling purchase items. Usually, at the start of my shift, I'm happy, pumped, "Merry Christmas, we are jeweling these bottles and ornaments for free with a purchase of any of our brands." "Hello ma'am, you look gorgeous today, would you like to add some elegance with a swavortsi crystal jeweled bottle?" I'm all cool with jeweling them bottles with whatever designs or pictures or initials they request because I actually like doing commissions. But, y'know, that Christmas spirit kinda wears off after 5 hours of "Sorry", "Bye", "Do you know where the bathroom is?", "What floor are we on?", "Hey mommy look, snow!", and MAJOR POKER FACE. So, aside from customers, anyone that sticks out amidst that forest of poker faces even the tiniest bit, sticks out like a frickin' sore thumb. The other day, while I was jeweling someone's purchase, the girl's father walked up to her, tired and carrying like 6 bags. Usually, customers who watched me were either silent or talking to each other. Well, the dad stayed there to watch me work and then, amazingly, began telling me their >Life Story<. Really, he began rambling to me about how the girl was a high school senior getting ready for the school's Winter Ball and she was shopping for her dress and friends' and family's Christmas presents. Oh, and how he was carrying her bags the whole day and "Ha ha ha, she's just a girl." Free story baby.
It's not the most interesting, and, if I write it wrong, can probably even turn into a cliched high school drama storyline. But, there's miniature tension between the father and the daughter, even if it's a joke. See, tension is what creates character desires and plots. What can happen is I can accumulate that tired father's waining energies against the daughter's increased shopping nags into clashing with, perhaps, meeting the daughter's Winter Ball date right at the time they begin to argue to create conflict. And if I weren't the vendor and, like you, observing from the outside? I could write about how the different people, ranging from customers, those who scoff at them, those who tell life stories, begin to tax on the vendor's energies and affect their work performance.
Now actually, combine that shopper, that vendor, that charity person, and that homeless person. Interestingly, just by going through any one of their work days, you can catch glimpses of a personality, and then create something based of it. Closely watching someone really doing it is, seriously, really valuable. Read them like a mystery book, and using "hints" recreate them. And better yet, you aren't really stalking them because they're supposed to be out there for people to look at.
So, even though it'd be after Christmas by the time you watch this vlog, I'd like to assign all of you guys, to go Downtown or some busy shopping centre to check out "After Christmas" sales. Trust me, there will still be sales events going on. And if you hang around the right places, some really writeable things will happen. Note: take a notebook to jot bare minimum ideas with you because in this kind of crowded place, you probably won't be able to remember any details.
And so, once again, Merry Christmas! And comment your results! And subscribe for more of these videos!