Snoopy McSnooperson


As people, we are raised with certain values, behaviors that slot us into socially acceptable norms. The simple things that separate us from good and bad. Using these behaviors in characters can be rewarding both good and bad.

Simple values that we take for granted such as privacy. Having that violated can cause fantastic conflict or inner turmoil for a character. It can also give a villain or antagonist opportunity to shine. Writing bad people is fun, fun because they can step outside the social boundaries and wreak havoc on those that don’t. They can do what the average person won’t.

Some examples of people who may violate privacy purposefully or accidentally:

A child who hasn’t learned to respect privacy
A well-meaning parent suspecting child of wrongdoings
A teacher who over steps their boundaries
A boss or coworker who snoops
A friend who feels slighted or isn’t truly a friend
A stranger stealing identity
A stranger who broke into a house/apartment
A friend or family member looking in a private place innocently 

Examples of ways to violate one’s privacy

Read a diary
Rummage through a desk/bedroom/closet/office
Go into a wallet, purse or bag
Break into/invade one’s home/car
look through a medicine cabinet
hack a computer
Peeping through a window, door or via hidden camera
Steal identity/impersonation
Read employee records without permission
walk into the bathroom on someone
Listen in on a conversation, phone-call or voice mail
Enter a room/house/yard/garage without permission
Reading someone’s mail/email/text messages or test results

Good intentions or not, breaching one’s privacy can be disruptive. I use this invasion as a way to foreshadow a character who may stray from the right side or who is already bad, but hiding it. Snooping people are interesting because they so casually break a rule of honor.

Scott’s eyes narrowed as he watched Amber and Dale leave for lunch together; giggling and teasing one another. There was no way she hasn’t had sex with multiple candidates. Why Dale? Scott intended to find out.
He glanced around. Most of the office was empty by now and so he casually made his way to Amber’s desk. He adjusted her chair as he sat and unlocked her computer. Clifton gave him access to the spyware that logged all passwords in the event of sudden termination. The information he was finding very useful these days.
“Alright, Amber what game are you playing?” Scott opened her browser history and quickly found her private email, opened it and started reading.
“Incognito does not mean hidden moron.” Scott mumbled to himself and shook his head as he opened one sent to her mom titled ‘unsure’. He started from the beginning and as he read a sly grin spread across his face.
“Bingo.” Scott quickly copied the conversation and sent it to a dummy email he set up earlier. He authorized another access so she wouldn’t be alerted when he checked her email from another computer.
“She’s not smart enough to figure that out anyway.” Scott set her computer back to how she left it and went back to his office to do some research. 

Unless two people are in cahoots on a privacy offense, an infringement is likely a solitary activity. What I like to do in this sort of scenario is leave a bit of mystery and have the perpetrator make a mistake (Yes Scott made one). One that may or may not be noticed later on. What I won’t do is have someone magically witness it without making that known at the time of the incident. There’s not much worse than the surprise revelation to the reader that Rachael witnessed the whole thing but it wasn’t mentioned until later. “Hey, I saw Scott on your computer yesterday.” Ugh. Incidentally having someone caught red-handed is also an abundantly wealthy source of drama. Just don’t use the cliché term “Red-handed”.

My advice about privacy and invading it.
It’s such a successful way to subtlety show characters true to nature, whether they resist the urge to peek at an email left open or blatantly snoop to read it, you can let the reader develop emotions toward the character.


A post or two from a while ago.

Take charge already!
The secret’s out

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved


Shut your cake hole

Blabbermouths are common in the real world. To your face or behind your back. So why not put them in the story? I love a good jerk, the one that makes you grip the book a little harder and hope they get their comeuppance or feel bad for what they’ve done. Whether they know they are loudmouth squealer or not, doesn’t matter. That they stir the pot does. A proper bigmouth can change the game and save a floundering storyline.

Here is a little tid-bit of mine from a work in progress:

“Good morning Nell, Wendy.” Hank smiled and sat at the meeting room table.
“Oh good morning Hank.” Wendy gushed. She had no problem flirting with the unnaturally handsome Hank. “How was your weekend?”
As usual, Nell sat quietly since Wendy cut off any chance of casting Hank a greeting. Hank finished his tales of golf, beer and a spontaneous trip to the beach without a glance toward Nell. “How about yours Wendy?”
“Ah same ole, same ole.” She waived her hand. “Now Nell had quite the adventure.” Her sly tone was devastating.
There was zero chance Hank would drop the subject. Nell shot her a what-the-hell look. She knew better than to confide in her friend, but did it anyway.
“Oh really.” He slid his gaze to Nell. “Do tell, what could Nell possibly do that has her redder than your blouse Wendy?”
“She had a hot date.” Wendy ignored Nell’s kick to her leg. “Like really hot.” Wendy fanned herself.
Hank tilted his head staring at Nell. She was quiet, mousy and barely noticeable on a good day. All work and no play. Usually. “With whom?”
“Wendy.” Nell’s clenched teeth made her plea to shut up, louder than she meant. The last thing she wanted was Hank, of all people to laugh at her. “Please don’t.”
“Now I have to know.” Hank chuckled.
“She and Barry from accounting went to Point Garrison beach yesterday. Apparently it has an amazing view.” Wendy waggled her eyebrows.
Nell’s cheeks drained of all colour as he smiled broadly, understanding that he was the view.

My advice about Chatterboxes.
Use them. Make them make your story tantalizing or spice up a dull storyline. Someone spilling the proverbial beans can start a good conflict. I like to use it as an opportunity to let someone behave outside their comfort zone.



Other posts of mine

Oops! What did I just say?

Eyes that carry worlds

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved