Wanna know one secret to writing? Walk.
Yeah, that's it, walk. An hour a day, at least, every day. Get out of your damned car, and just walk. Stop once in a while to hear, smell, see things. For an hour, at least.
The best scriptwriter in the local film industry, Mario O'Hara does this. He walks everywhere, around Makati, Malate, Quiapo, Binondo, Escolta. He can be seen commuting up and down Manila in a jeep--not his jeep, a passenger jeep. He pretty much knows the bus network of this city. He's the only Filipino filmmaker I know that does this (even Lino Brocka has a car--well, O'Hara drives a van, but only on special occasions, like an out-of-town shoot), maybe the only filmmaker in the world that does this. That's how he came up with the scripts for films like "Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang" (You Were Judged and Found Wanting), "Bakit Bughaw ang Langit" (Why the Sky is Blue?), and "Babae sa Bubungang Lata" (Woman on a Tin Roof), among others. He looks at the people around him, listens to them, puts them in his screenplays.
And I'll tell you another little secret: "Insiang," considered by many to be Lino Brocka's masterpiece (including myself, over the I think overrated "Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag" (Manila in the Claws of Neon), and perhaps the finest, tightest Filipino film script ever written, was inspired by what happened to O'Hara's backyard neighbors.
O'Hara walks, that's his secret. Oh, it's not the basis for some of his wilder flights of imagination, in films like "Mortal" or "Pangarap ng Puso" (Demons), but it's the basis of his understanding of people. By being among them.