Your Most Random Writer's Fodder Moment

Because that novel isn't going to delay itself
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Your Most Random Writer's Fodder Moment

Post by dios4vida » September 20th, 2011, 4:28 pm

I just discovered a dead mouse in my poolhouse. (The poolhouse is really a small shed attached to the house that encloses my therapy pool.) Less than a foot away was a dead tarantula. The tarantula wasn't a big deal, just curled like all spiders do in death and probably only the size of a silver dollar. The mouse, though, was a skeleton with fur. Maggots crawled all over it. I couldn't smell it, thank goodness, but it definitely ranks on my Most Disgusting Finds Ever list.

Now, I'm a sissy when it comes to dead things. I look on with interest when we find a rattlesnake in the driveway but run inside when my husband kills it. I don't do dead things. They creep me out on a basic, human level.

But I scooped this mouse up (with a broom and my long-handled pool net) and valiently carted it to the garbage can.

Most people would call that a day. Yay, a new story to tell to my niece and nephews to make them go "eeewwwwww". But I'm a writer. I now have a great reference for finding sudden death. I know the visceral reaction to it. I can see it in my mind's eye, so now I can write it better.

For others, it's a moment. For writers, it's now the "know" in "write what you know."

I've had several moments like this over the years. I've listened while a tree fell in the forest. I've been shocked by the death of a loved one and healed emotionally by the love of my life. I've had a life-changing medical diagnosis. I've stood outside in the middle of the night while the house across the street exploded. I've seen lightning strike a tree 50 feet away. I've sat in a minivan while a monsoon turned our street into a river and we floated instead of drove. I've ridden a camel through Petra, the site of the amazing Treasury (the gorge and ediface carved in stone used in Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade).

These are my writer's fodder moments - the amazing details I've experienced that make my writing unique, memorable, visceral, and emotional.

What are your favorite (or most amazing, or most random) writer's fodder moments?
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Re: Your Most Random Writer's Fodder Moment

Post by Evelyn » September 20th, 2011, 8:16 pm

Brenda, what a wonderful idea and what wonderful and REAL experiences you've had. Let me think...

I've given birth, at home, in my own bed, with my husband in attendance (he cut the cord) along with a midwife and my mother (a labor-and-delivery nurse) who jumped on my empty tummy just minutes after my son was born (I mean, she TRAMPLED me! It hurt! I was furious!) I later found out that she did it because I was bleeding profusely and she and the midwife probably saved my life.

(My son, by the way, is 19 now and off to his Sophomore year at Stanford tomorrow.)

I've hiked through the jungle in the Amazon and saw poison dart frogs and drank fresh water from a vine. I've tasted medicine-brew offered by a witch-doctor. I've sat in the dark but immaculate hut of an Ndebele family in Africa and joined them in singing "Amazing Grace", in different languages, a profound VERY MOVING moment even though I'm Jewish.

I walked into the kitchen several years ago and found the lifeless body of my son's cat. I had to help him bury Tabby and watch the tears run down his face.

Wow. I could go on and on. I've got to fix a special going-away dinner tonight, so I have to stop... maybe I'll write more, later.


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Re: Your Most Random Writer's Fodder Moment

Post by Sommer Leigh » September 22nd, 2011, 8:42 am

I have the Inappropriate Writer Syndrome too, in which I force myself to experience things that most normal people would run screaming away from, all in the effort to appropriate the experience of them into my bank of knowledge.

It usually does not go over well with friends who are standing by demanding to know what's come over me.
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Re: Your Most Random Writer's Fodder Moment

Post by Watcher55 » September 25th, 2011, 1:30 am

I’ve had several “fodder” moments, but this is one of my favorites:

My brothers and I once saw a wasp caught in a spider’s web. It buzzed and thrashed in mid-air like a marionette with epilepsy until the tiny spider descended from the high corner of her parlor. It was as if the attack banished panic and gave the wasp a tangible enemy. The wasp stopped thrashing, folded itself in half and jabbed its stinger at the much smaller spider. The spider was faster and used the web’s silken threads to dodge then advance long enough to wrap the wasp’s head and front legs. The wasp’s stinger jabbed and probed, and the web bounced and swayed as the spider attacked twice more and secured the wasps wings. The spider dodged then moved in, spun her shroud then dodged again. On her last sortie, the spider finished the deadly shroud, but toppled over and died beneath her own trap. The shroud twitched once more and the winged Pyrrhus claimed the final victory.

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Re: Your Most Random Writer's Fodder Moment

Post by Chantelle.S. » September 29th, 2011, 11:25 pm

Oh wow, I have a few of these.

1. Being bullied at school. For a whole year. Without anyone ever picking up on the signs that I'm a victim. Until I happened to bump into my long time best friend, who I'd lost all contact with after she was sent to boarding school. Seeing her at school that day was probably one of the happiest days of my life. She put an end to over 200 days worth of bullying in a matter of an hour. She got a slap in the face from my bully for it too. Will NEVER forget how we laughed afterward.

2. Watching our family pet having the final spasms of death in our backyard. I had to carry her to the outdoors toilet to keep the other dogs from getting at her, because my brother wasn't home to do it. I remember picking her up, how surprised I was at how limp and heavy she was, feeling her insides shift, and being peed on. It was awful because she was already gone.

3. Rubbing a bullfrog. I was lying on the floor in our lounge watching TV, felt something itchy on my back and reached behind me. Felt something soft and slimy, ran my finger over it twice before I realised it was a frog. I flew up screaming like a crazy person. I think everyone else had gotten a bigger fright than I did.

4. Receiving the news that my cousin, fresh out of high school, had passed away in a head-on collision.

5. Receiving the news that my uncle was murdered. Hell hath no hatred compared to how I felt (and still feel) about it.

6. Passing out during labour. It was the scariest thing ever. Not once, not twice, but three times. I really didn't think I was going to make it through.

7. Watching an African thunderstorm. It was my hubby's friends' wedding. They live by the coast in Durban, and they got us accommodation for one night at a lodge. It was a little wooden cabin that we shared with the rest of his family. It started raining but we went and sat outside on the stoep (porch, I mean) on this little bunk, and we had a panoramic view of the ocean. It was well past 11pm so we could see buggerall really, but watching the lightning dance across the surface of the ocean is what I term as magic. Was an unforgetable experience for me, writing-wise. The mood wasn't all that magical though, since my hubby was not a happy chappy, I was not a happy chappy, and I was heavily pregnant with my first and really didn't want to GROVEL for him to go back inside with me, because I dislike that family.

8. One of the kids dropped a cup a year ago. I picked it up and put it in the sink because it was still whole. When I was doing the dishes, I didn't see that it had cracked right around, so when I shoved my hand into it to scrub the stains out of it, my hand went straight through the cup. It cut right on the knuckle of my thumb. It bled for a good few minutes, and I mean it was GUSHING blood. I remember looking at it and thinking, wow, so this is a little taste of what a bad battle wound must look and feel like. And then I got lightheaded from blood loss and freaked out. I got a cool scar left from it :) And it hurt for a long time even after it had scarred, too.

That's all I can think of off-hand. I've got a lot more.
I've also had the reverse effect, where I DON'T do something because I've read one book too many where the protagonist does it and it doesn't turn out well for them. We've got this little 'basement' area behind our garage, under the house. It's pitch black in there, and there's no light or electricity in there. My hubby went exploring with the torch but I can't force myself to set my feet in there. I keep thinking some demon or ghost is going to come crawling around the corner and...well, I don't really know. I think I write too much horror.
"Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s." -Stephen King

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Re: Your Most Random Writer's Fodder Moment

Post by JohnDurvin » January 11th, 2012, 12:09 am

I've been slowly building up a skit based around the worst customers we get at work--the ones that, for example, ask which product they need, and while you're trying to ask them a question to find out what they're after, they randomly grab something off the shelf and ask if that's it. The ones that make up brand names for printers ("I got an HP Brother") and get furious when we don't know what they mean. The ones that want refills for pens that they paid a dollar for ten years ago...
Everybody loves using things as other things, right? Check out my blog at the Cromulent Bricoleur and see one hipster's approach to recycling, upcycling, and alterna-cycling (which is a word I just made up).

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