Daily Archives: July 31, 2010

Need Novel Fodder? Visit Snopes.

This summer our little community has been infested with earwigs.  These nasty looking critters don’t cause undue damage to humans or property regardless of what the urban legends purport.

Thanks to About.com: Urban Legends

Earwigs have a horrible reputation as murderous creatures.  They’re believed to sneak into a sleeping person’s ear and burrow into the brain, supposedly causing death or insanity.

While these insects look like a sci-fi movie gone wrong, the only harm they cause is a mild pinch when handled by humans.  The moral of the story is don’t believe everything you hear and don’t molest earwigs.

A quick online search can pull up hundreds of crazier than crazy stories.  As writers, we would be remiss in ignoring such fun and fascinating tales.  Their uses are plentiful. 

  1. We could have a character subscribe to an urban legend and act accordingly, creating quite the fun personality quirk.
  2. A firm belief in such odditities could ultimately save the day when everyone is ill prepared to deal with an unbelievable twist later in the story.
  3. What if the urban legend is true?  And nobody believes it except a few key characters?  Yeah, what if earwigs really did cause insanity, but that they’ve gotten smart?  Instead of hiding out in the ear, they pop in, cause damage and then slither away into the night?
  4. What if the urban legend isn’t really true, but everyone believes it? 
  5. Why not take a Snopes story and give it a twist?  Personally, I like the story of the robbers holding people up at snake point.  But what if the cops used snakes to flush out the robbers instead?

The world is full if infinite possibilities.  All we have to do is open our eyes to the possibilities.

Have you ever worked a myth into your manuscript?  If so, how?  How well do you research your information before typing it into your story? 

A quick look at snops.com can bust your chops with something you used to believe as gospel.  It can also be a great way to waste the afternoon.