Welcome back to the continuing saga of Seven People You Meet at Writers Conferences.
Writers are always looking for characters to populate their novels and the best places to find these creatures are where people congregate. Some good places to do people watching are coffee shops, airports, cafes, and Writers Conferences. For some reason, writers are some of the most interesting characters you'll ever meet, and if you do your people watching at these get togethers, nobody is going to even notice you're observing and recording, because everyone is walking around with notepads and pens and laptops. It's a golden opportunity. To illustrate, here are just two characters from the last conference I attended.
The Woman in the Parrot Hat
Writers go to conferences for a variety of reasons - networking and agent catching are the two principal ones. I believe this lady fell into the second category.She was determined to be noticed, and noticed she was. She was the only person wearing an oversized yellow straw hat adorned with a multi-colored stuffed parrot glomped onto one side and a smattering of gaudy feathers artfully cascading off the rim and tickling her shoulder. To say she was a conversation piece doesn't do this trooper justice.
For four days she wore this hat, accessorized with a pastel rainbow broomstick skirt. She was a credit to her genre. The headache she nurtured must have been of gargantuan proportions and yet she plowed ahead, a Carmen Miranda d'une certain age.
Was she noticed? You betcha. Was she a character? You bet your pinfeathers. I spent some time thinking about her and speculating. There's a character there, for sure.
The Balding Man in the Green Sateen Cape, Tennis Shoes, and Long, Gray Beard
In the interest of gender equity, this gentleman did himself proud. He was a tad scary, and if I were an agent, I might have been a bit reluctant to listen to his pitch. However, he soldiered on, cape and all, like a Green Hornet closing in for the sting. I don't know if he was successful in snagging an agent, but he definitely got their attention. I believe his genre was fantasy and it was clear he was living the dream.
A character? Most certainly and one that had the potential for going in a variety of directions.
I was the only completely normal person there, with my 1940s cloche hat, rhinestone brooch and earrings, and evening dress. I don't understand the reason for the second looks. Must have been an inner beauty thing.