Who says stalking is always a bad thing? Okay, I grant you if it ends up in violence, stalking is a very bad thing. But there are times when stalking could lead to fame and fortune. Let’s consider the non-fiction writer.
Non-fiction writing can be anything from The biography of George Stemple: Trash Collector to the Stars to How To Pop Pimples for Fun and Profit. Non-fiction articles involve tons of research. Ergo, the writer must interview people for the necessary information. Or if the subject source is dead, you have to hunt down people who can best give you the information you need.
Even the fiction writer has to be a stalker. Let’s start with story ideas. Writers, by nature, are people watchers. At the store, in the supermarket, visiting the zoo…they are all places in our daily lives we visit. The man with the weird laugh, the child with the enthralled expression, the two elderly lovers walking hand in hand are all grist for our character mill.
Then there is the research. Even if you write contemporary fiction there is some kind of research to do. I mean, unless you only write about what you personally know, you have to do a certain amount research. Whether it is an unfamiliar location, the hero’s occupation, or the cause of the external conflict, you will be looking for details. I once even emailed a Chamber of Commerce in Alaska to search for information.
Luckily, most people love to talk about themselves, so writers rarely get arrested for stalking.