Yesterday I was driving along the river on my way to work and the light was amazing. Sort of hazy and creamy - and it made me think of forest fires and fall (which is definitely here) and then I found myself thinking, how would I write this light? Then I started looking around and quizzing myself on how I would write other things I saw on my commute.
With people, it's characterization and suddenly I'm guilty of the thing that has always bugged me about my over-effusive actress neighbor (Oh my God! You shave your legs? I had no idea! - she said this to a friend of mine that she had somehow perceived as more of a granola - it didn't fit her characterization of this friend as "character.") I notice the quirks, the anomalies, the things that don't fit in stereotypical jigsaw puzzles. (Like my ginger-haired, snake bite pierced Art II kid who also happens to be a straight A student that gets upset if marked tardy, even when tardy).
Eavesdropping - yep, guilty. But not so much the words as the rhythm of speech, the cadence, and well okay, honest truth, dialogue, too.
So what are your tells? What marks you as a writer?