Friday, February 02, 2007

Bodacious Inspiration

By Susan Helene Gottfried

Fellow Stiff Tory caught me mentioning Bodacious Sauce a few weeks back. Smart woman that she is, her interest was piqued. What is Bodacious Sauce, she asked, and what's the story about Bodacious Sauce and Google?

Well, until I saw that someone had reached my blog by Googling Bodacious Sauce, I never knew that it actually existed. I'd thought it was a great name for a barbecue sauce, and it totally fit the theme I was going for when I created it. That was all.

I created it back in 2003, for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo to those of us familiar with the phenomenon. I was writing a scene that had intially been inspired by Metallica's now-infamous commando appearance at a Raiders football game. I morphed the band playing in the back of a tractor trailer into five or six bands, all playing out of trailers, arranged in a very large semi-circle outside of Riverview Stadium. It became the set-up for a battle of the bands in my fictional city of Riverview, USA.

It wasn't enough to make the event authentic. So I took it a step further: there was a rib fest going on at the stadium, over the July 4 holiday weekend. (How convenient that it fell on a weekend, but that's the beauty of fiction.) The Battle of the Bands, sponsored by fictional radio station KRVR, was the crowning event.

For the main character, Boomer, there was only one place to get dinner from: Big Buck's Best Barbecue. The name of Big Buck's came to me as I sat in front of the computer and let my mind wander. I was trying for something authentic. Something that would conjure up images of hot oil drums, sliced in half and blackened by the burnt sugar in the award-winning sauces.

Once I had Big Buck's, the rest came easy. After all, alliteration sticks in people's brains. Which is exactly what Big Buck would want.

As for Bodacious Sauce, a recent Google search turned up more than just the one variety I'd initially found. Maybe I ought to order a sampling of Bodacious Sauces; certainly, the deeper I get into the world of Riverview, USA, the more prominent I expect Big Buck, his Best Barbecue, and Bodacious Sauce to become. Maybe I can find a real Bodacious Sauce to be my signature sauce. Maybe we can work out some sort of deal, where my groupies, in their ever-ongoing search to make all things Riverview real, can buy it and use it on their own backyard barbecues and close their eyes and pretend they are in my world, the members of ShapeShifter there beside them, drooling over the scents of roasting meat and Bodacious Sauce

Maybe I ought to direct these fantasies back to Riverview. I hear there's a competitor to Big Buck who's ready to open his doors…


nimrodiel said...

My local comic shop carries and sells hot sauce designed by James Kochalka, so who knows maybe your Bodacious Sauce as used in Riverview will become a reality sometime down the road :)

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to believe that a writing life doesn't necessarily imply being financially destitute. I see you have it all worked out, Susan!

P.S. Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

One issue I'm always wrestling with as I write is how much reality to use and how much material conjured from my own imagination. My readers often say they love the idea that they're being taken to a real place. My editor, too, is always pushing for more real detail to make the books "come alive," as she says. But half the time when I'm accomodating her in the revision phase of a book, I'm just making up more stuff that *sounds* real, but isn't necessarily. Sometimes Bodacious just sounds more delicious than plain old "hickory smoked." But it's a fine balance for writers, huh?

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I think, Nancy, that when it feels right, it fits the fictional world. Bodacious Sauce worked because I a: didn't Google it before deciding it was a great name and b: it fit with Big Buck's Best Barbecue. What else would he slather on his food?

One thing I really learned with my first agent was that when it's forced, everyone can tell. Too bad I couldn't tell sooner that his work as an agent was forced... (live and learn, huh?)

And Tory, you're welcome for the link. :D

cheesygiraffe said...

Bodacious Susan! :)

Rashenbo said...

Now that's pretty awesome! Bodacious is a great word. I like it! :)