I needed a chaos scene. I had a class full of kids in my novel, and I needed them to create enough chaos that the teacher would be distracted and the other kids could escape class without the teacher noticing.
It was getting late, and all I could think of was to have the girl students pretend to see a mouse and start screaming. I knew it was lame, but it was all I could think of.
Later, I was eating supper and asked my husband, "If you were a student in high school and needed to create chaos, what would you do?"
He looked at me like I was stupid. "I'd just punch the nearest kid and start a fight."
Well, obviously. I'd never thought of that, and never would have. I think that's the difference between a boy and a girl. Girls tend to be more passive--no one gets hurt when a mouse runs through the room. Boys tend to be more violent--but also more effective. My scene wouldn't work because, well, there was no mouse and there's a limit to how much trouble a girl screaming "Mouse!" will cause. But with a fight...well, then you have the kids fighting, and all the other kids circling around, screaming "Fight!"...it's much more effective chaos.