Eavesdropping for Fun and Profit

Not the real Stonehenge, but the photo got my attention. It looks a lot like a gorilla jumping off the stones. I feel a story coming on.

I am not a very physically adventurous person. You won’t see me running any marathons, climbing Mount Everest, or parachuting out of a plane. The truth is, I’ve had serious back problems since I was about twelve. That was when a drunken Boob Fairy visited me in the night and couldn’t remember how many times she’d hit me with her wand. I fear there are a lot of flat-chested girls out there who never got their turns that night.

After I had kids, the Ass and Belly Fairies came by in a well-meaning, but poorly conceived attempt to even out my proportions. Thanks guys. I appreciate your help. Didn’t help my back any, but at least I don’t need to buy dresses that are four sizes bigger on the top than on the bottom.

All this is to explain that I do not try a lot of daring or adventurous things for the sake of my writing. No martial arts classes, no standing in a field learning to aim and fire a gun, and no jarring car chases in the name of research.

But none of those things show up in what I write (so far), so it doesn’t matter.

One of my favorite things to do is sit quietly and listen to people. If you’re ever at a restaurant with me, and my head tilts to the side while my eyes glaze over, give me a minute. I’m probably eavesdropping on the family behind me. Something in their conversation grabbed me, and trying to talk to me is useless until I’ve finished pillaging their discussion for dialogue.

Sure. I have other hobbies. I read comic books, play video games, and travel a lot. But it all sifts through my brain and comes out the other side as bits and pieces of new stories.

So, honestly, no, I don’t seek out new experiences to inform my writing. Everything I do — from throwing in a load of laundry to visiting Stonehenge has potential story material imbedded in it, especially since I mostly  write urban fantasy, which combines the everyday with the strange.

In fact, maybe I’ll write a story about giants using Stonehenge as a clothesline. It’s a reasonable explanation.

I’ll get right on that. As soon as I finish recording the phone conversation you just had with your mother-in-law.

‘Cause, damn. That’s some juicy dialogue right there.

Rachel is the author of the urban fantasy Monster Haven series from Carina Press. She believes in magic, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks, and putting things off until stress gets them done faster at the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas.

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