“Does she have an animal in her lap?” My wife pointed to people in front of us at the outdoor concert.
“I think it's a Chihuahua,” I said. People often bring large dogs to the Wednesday evening concert, so I could see why someone would hold a tiny one in her lap.
A few minutes later, when she put the animal down and it began to nibble the grass, I realized I'd seen what I expected. Instead, the animal at the end of the pink leash,wearing a pink and white harness, was a brown domestic rabbit.
As the band played some tunes I didn't recognize, I speculated about the kind of person who'd keep a pet rabbit, then hook it onto a pink leash, and bring it to an event well-stocked with dogs.
She had to be someone with a backstory. Someone who'd make a great supporting cast member for a novel – if not a protagonist. Someone with enough quirks to make unusual choices and keep readers on their toes.
Like the little girl twirling in front of the band, wearing a tiara equipped with a Rapunzel braid. Her parents – or someone who knew her – had made the choice to indulge the girl's inner princess. More people with what it takes to enliven a novel.
Need some quirky people to round out your cast? Attend a free public event and sit near the back. Just don't be surprised if people around you begin pointing and whispering about the person with a notebook.