A reviewer recently made some encouraging remarks about a scene in Unreliable Histories that was based closely on a real-life encounter involving a member of my family. I won't say which scene it was (mainly in the interests of protecting the not-so-innocent) but it did remind me how much scene-worthy material has been gathered over the years by my family and friends.
Some of it I may be able to work into a future novel so, for now, I'll keep those tales close to my chest, but other examples only work when you know they really happened.
A suspiciously high percentage of such events have happened to my immediate family. For example, there is a long wooded valley walk near to where I live and I must have been there a hundred times or more over the years. However, whereas I will stroll along the path and count myself fortunate to see, say, a small deer or a particularly striking example of the fly agaric mushroom, my father will take exactly the same route and, in the midst of a wood, encounter a troupe of semi-naked performers making an adult video for foot fetishists. (True.)
He's been getting into odd situations his whole life. He often tells the tale of when, as a small boy, he and his gang found someone's pet dog that had escaped from the family home. Rather than simply return it, the boys took it into their den on some waste ground and decided that what it most needed was to be dressed up in his friend's pyjamas. (Exit one friend to return, some minutes later with said attire, snatched secretly from his bedroom.) The dog was duly dressed, made a fuss of and then left in the den when the boys were called home for their meals. On their return, they discovered that the dog, still presumably in the pyjamas, had escaped. What still makes my dad laugh, even today, is the image of the dog returning home and the owner opening the door to find the dog standing there in its new outfit. The idea of the owner wondering what his or her pet could possibly have been doing is usually enough to send him into fits of uncontrollable giggles.
The point is, if you read a particularly unlikely-sounding scene in one of my novels, stay your skepticism; it's quite possible that that's one of the few events in there that really happened.