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You can learn a lot about people (and by extension, how to write characters realistically) by looking at what they put on Facebook (or alternately, tweet or post on their blogs.) Think about it. What do the great bulk of posts tend to include?

Complaints. An occasional kudos. Or sometimes, fangirling.

People only tend to notice things when they’re out of the ordinary, or they get noticed by celebrities (this second one is called “cool by association.”) I call it “The Rule of Non-Observance.”

If the broom is in its place when you go to sweep up the glass from the cup that just broke, you complain about the cup, not the broom. However, if you have to go hunting through the house just to find the broom in order to clean up the mess, you notice, and then you complain more about the broom. (You know you do.)

On the other hand, if something is in place when it’s normally not and you go hunting through the house to find it, only to find it where it belongs, it gets your notice, doesn’t it? Because you just spent looking for something for ten minutes when it was really where it belonged the entire time.

People don’t notice things that aren’t out of the ordinary. However, they do take notice of their surroundings when they’re bored, or if they’ve only just arrived (alternatively, if the place is familiar, but has been recently remodeled.) People notice things that are out of the ordinary or new. Characters are much the same.

This same rule is also useful in world building as well. It can be effective for shock value, or it can illustrate the beliefs or what is normal to people in that world. For instance, in one fantasy world I’ve created, people don’t take much notice to baby wyverns playing in the streets of their city. Sure, they complain about them, but as long as the wyverns don’t go predatory or start thieving, they’re just like any other vermin.

To recap, people only notice things that are new or unusual. Use that to your advantage.

Enough said.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

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