Friday, February 20, 2009

Pee in Dangerous Places

I was reading the latest issue of Writers' Digest last night and came across this excerpt (from Pep Talks, Warnings and Screeds: Indispensable Widsom and Cautionary Advice for Writers by George Singleton) which I just loved. So here's your Friday word of advice:

I fear that there's not enough danger in everyday life. I'm not talking about gang-related violence and how the ease of buying handguns in America causes everyday danger. I'm talking about public restrooms. In the old days, there weren't fast-food restaurants at every intersection. In the old days, if a traveler had to use the restroom, he had to go into strange Texaco and Gulf stations or roadside rest areas. There was always graffiti in these places that read something like, "Want to have a good time? Meet me here at 4:30." Then the traveler would look at his watch and see that it was 4:28 or thereabouts.

Such anxiety and tension causes good fiction. It's a different kind of tension than when the automatic hand dryer is broken. So my advice for beginning writers is to pee in dangerous places, always. Then give your characters that feeling of imminent danger.


Marianne Arkins said...

LOL... now that is one great metaphor.

Mary Ricksen said...

I'm gonna stop at every Sunoco I pass!