Friday, August 22, 2008

Inspired by eavesdropping

The great thing about writing romance is that inspiration can be found anywhere.

Some of my ideas come from real life - my own and the lives of real people I happen to know. Other ideas come from the media, and still others from historic events.

My favorite way to get inspired is to eavesdrop. Yeah, I admit it, I am an fine me!

Seriously, that's what the punishment for eavesdropping was in the olden days - fines.

The history of eavesdropping is actually pretty cool.

The term “eavesdrop” has its origins in the architectural genius known as the eaves of a house. The eaves are the part of the roof that extend past the actual outside walls, so that rainwater will pour off of the slanted roof, away from the house and its potential damage. (We weren’t born with gutters, you know). This creates a dry area to stand outside the house (the eavesdrop), and, incidentally, the perfect venue to overhear what is going on inside. The term “eavesdropping” has definite negative connotations because of its implicit proactive busy-bodiness. Like a snoop, or a meddler, or a wire-tapper. But an overhearer? There’s no fault there. We cannot help but overhear. And be overheard. (Thanks to the Cornell Daily Sun for the history lesson!)

Eavesdropping was such a problem in ancient China that warriors got in the habit of drawing their plans rather than speaking about them!

Anyway, this all goes to reinforce my belief that eavesdropping is a great way to get inspiration for stories!

Of course, I'm talking about casual, friendly listening in on conversations, not the stalking, wire-tapping, corporate secret-stealing eavesdropping of the bad guys in every action flick!

So, go ahead! Listen in. You never know what kind of inspiration you might find!


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