Monday, June 28, 2010

Fodder Alert!

In my last post, I chatted about my madness as a romance writer. I may, perhaps, have another writer’s flaw. My non-writing friends consider it far worse than voices that wake me in the night. After all, my characters don’t disturb their sleep.

Latest hunky hero says “Hey.”*

This flaw strikes anytime, anywhere. It favors inopportune moments: a sob-broken eulogy, a co-worker’s tale of woe, over crème caramel in a romantic restaurant.

Some insignificant thing captures my writer’s fancy.

Suddenly, I’m scrounging for notepad and pencil. I've worn countless pencils to the nub. Really, a writer should come with a built-in version.

It happens so often, the Loving Husband coined a phrase for this special spasm of my mine: Fodder Alert.

I confess. I hang my head in shame. I apologize in advance and arrears. Not only am I a mad writer, I’m a scene spy. Shh!

Family, friends, acquaintances; all are surreptitiously observed for story ideas. Strangers are better as they never find out they've been—OMG—used.

Before you all shun me, please know that the final scene seldom mirrors the originating incident. My peculiar madness bends and twists the original beyond recognition. Innocent contributors are protected by a thick veil of privacy. I do, after all, want peaceable relations with my family and friends.

When and where do your Fodder Alerts sound? Which was your favorite?

*Ryan Chisholm, hero of Above Scandal (my romantic women’s fiction work-in-progress) informed me last night, “I'm not idiot enough to use a little girl against her own mother”. He and Carter of The Painted Ladies must be gossiping behind my back.

Joan Leacott

Heart, humour and heat...Canada style

Further musings by Joan

Photo Credit: Carlos Porto/


Mona Risk said...

What a fun post Joan. My characters speak to me too at the worst possible time, that is when I want to sleep and they force me to get up and write what they have in mind.

Lise said...

So thrilled to know I am not alone in my fodder madness! And now I even have a name for it. As some of my sexy characters are apt to say, "anytime, anywhere" - that's where I spot fodder.

My best observation? Albeit a creepy one - overhearing a conversation over the fence between 2 grouchy male neighbors - and I've used it in my WIP:

"The only good woman is a dead woman".


Jill James said...

Joan, my characters usually appear when I'm just falling asleep, thus guaranteeing that I'll not remember anything when I wake up.

Cai said...

I've found my co-workers to be an extremely rich source of useable quotes and story ideas! Working almost exclusively with women, the conversations range from serious to innane, and being in the healthcare industry, frequently the absurd.

I think all writers do this even though some won't ever admit it. :)

Sheila Tenold said...

Joan, I'm guilty, too, but glad to find a label for shamelessly easedropping everywhere I go. Starbucks is good for observing people. My all time favorite is the ladies room at a restaurant. We always travel in pairs, don't we? Behind the stall doors you hear women share the darnest information, mostly about men, which sometimes singes your ears. Okay, I will state I DO NOT hang around in there taking notes!

Joan Leacott said...

Hi Mona, thanks for dropping by. I can't wait to finish my WIP so I can get some rest.

Joan Leacott said...

Oh, Lise, that is WAY creepy. Wonder what those two would say if you returned the compliment--the only good man...

Joan Leacott said...

Yeah, Jill, why couldn't they wait until we wake up and have had a cuppa. Inconsiderate so-and-so's. Thanks for your note.

Joan Leacott said...

Ooo, Cai, co-workers. You have to be so careful to disguise the sources. Even using names can cause problems. I was telling one co-worker I'd used her name and she demanded I make the character a red-head just like her. Sheesh!

Joan Leacott said...

Sheila, The ladies'--brilliant idea! You're right--the things we say! Cover my ears.

Joanne said...

Fun post, Joan. My fodder alert came when my hero, an earl from Tudor England, questioned me about the hose and boots he had to wear. :)

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

One day I was sitting in my sister's ceramic shop, quietly painting a figurine when I blurted out "I know how I'm going to kill the villian." Well, you could have heard a pin drop. Elaine started laughing and then explained I am a writer. They all went back to work, ignoring my masterpiece of a murder in my book. ;)