An Impromptu, One in a Million Chance to Live a Scene from Your Novel

I love hiking. It’s one of my favorite wind-down hobbies.  That’s probably why “the woods” are usually a staple in my writing. This past weekend, while hiking with my husband and my pepped up poodle, I had an unexpected surprise.

There is a scene in FIRE IN THE WOODS where my MC, Jess, is walking along the side of the street and sees a deer grazing near the woods. Jess takes off into the woods after the deer, and ends up with more than she bargained for.

Back to “real life.” — While crossing the road from one part of the woods to the other Saturday, imagine my surprise when, about twenty feet from me, a deer crossed as well… heading for the same woods we were.

Luckily for me, the doe was quiet, and my poodle didn’t see her, or I would have been at the mercy of fifty pounds of barking, solid muscle tearing after a wild animal.

As the doe trotted beneath the canopy, I instantly made the connection with the scene in my novel, and I wondered… just how hard would it be to chase a deer in the woods? 

Research time!

I handed the leash off to my husband.

“You’re kidding, right?” he said.


And off I went.  It would have been wonderful it this had been a buck, like in my novel, but the female deer was just as exciting for me, because in all the years I have been hiking, I have never actually seen one. It was a very cool experience. And, yes, I found out, you CAN chase a deer into the woods with some success. But like my character, Jess, I lost my fluffy-tailed friend about a quarter of a mile in.

After re-joining Hubbs and my pup, we finished our five-mile trek, and we saw the deer three more times. (or “a deer” I have no idea if it was the same one)  Pup even got to chase our woodland friend once. (That was the last time we saw the deer.  Smart deer.)

So… unexpectedly I discovered that you CAN chase a deer in the woods, and you can also see the same (or another) deer multiple times on the same day.  This sequence of scenes is now totally validated for me. Very cool – and it gave me a warm and fuzzy inside.

Have you ever had an unexpected chance to relive a scene in a book you have read?



12 responses to “An Impromptu, One in a Million Chance to Live a Scene from Your Novel

  1. What a timely blog. I was two bucks this morning having their breakfast in a field. A wonderful sight. I do want to mention both my husband and I have been charged by a deer – usually that means there is a fawn nearby, and my neighbours dog got stomped – but is okay. So when you’re chasing a deer in the woods be ready to hide behind a tree. I felt ridiculous being afraid of a deer, but they are big:)

  2. How cool!! I did the chance to live unexpected scenes of 18 Thoughts on my trip to Michigan this summer 🙂 No demons in the graveyard though . . . at least none that I saw!

  3. Come down to suburban Maryland, and I bet you could relive that scene every day! 🙂 I don’t think I’ve had the chance to actually relive a scene I’ve read or written, but I do get to hang out in some of the same places that my characters do.

  4. I guess the deer are bolder in my neck of the woods. I walk often in greenways–long stretches of improved paths that generally divide the back of houses and a big wooded area.

    And I’ve seen more deer than I can count. Bucks, does, fawns… all of which will mostly ignore you if you stay far enough away–about 20 ft.

    I’ve never tried to chase one, though. They have me outnumbered!

  5. Life imitating art! Perfect. 😀

  6. I read a sex scene once. The chance to relive that would be unexpected.