Sweltering Conditions

            Summer is upon us and temperatures are rising. Lucky people have air-conditioning or can seek shelter in a cooling spot. However, not everyone is blessed with ways to cool off.

            Free-standing fans provide limited relief if a person sits right in front of it, but do little for a family of four. Or for a classroom full of steaming children or a church filled with parishioners.

            Imagine the stories that arise from being overheated. Fights break out because tempers rise. Tears are shed. Clothing is stripped off. Hoses spray cooling water, but not when there is a drought. People might take a drive if their car’s air works or go stroll through a nearby shopping mall.

            These are all temporary solutions. What happens when the electricity goes out or people have to return to the overheated offices, classrooms and homes?

            Your task is to write a scene in which the heat is overwhelming. Begin with the setting. Are your characters on the road, at work or at home? How do they cool off? How does the heat impact relationships?

            Use a combination of narrative and dialogue, remembering that tensions are going to arise. There might be angry words tossed about or actual fisticuffs.

            Have fun with this one.

The Impact of Weather

I am lucky enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area where the weather is mild. We think it’s cold if it gets down into the 50s and hot in the 80s. It doesn’t snow here, but occasionally we get sleet or hail. Then we stared, gaped jawed, in amazement.

We don’t have tornadoes or hurricanes either. We can get torrential rain that lasts for a few days and the fog comes in over the Golden Gate Bridge, cooling our nights.

However, people here do stupid stuff when weather impacts driving safety. They’ll drive at 70 mph even though rain splashing off the roadway restricts visibility or when the fog is low to the ground, making it impossible to see more than a few feet in front of the car.

They’ll go out in the morning without first checking the weather, so might be caught unaware by cool temps and rain.

It’s not unusual to see vacationers, who thinking SF in the summer will be warm, scrambling to buy sweatshirts and jackets.

Imagine if your character went out in a rainstorm or was foolish enough to walk the beach as a hurricane approached. What might this reveal about your character?

Would the reader consider her foolish or brave?

What if she failed to bring her pets inside when a massive snow storm was approaching? Again, what does that reveal about her and her feelings for animals?

Your task is to create the bio for your character. First of all, taking into consideration where the story takes place, what weather events are likely to occur there. Make a list.

Next to teach item record how your character could react. Don’t just think of logical outcomes, but the illogical as well. Remember that doing stupid things often makes for a more interesting story line!

After you’ve created your list, choose the one event that you feel most comfortable writing. Include sensory perceptions and reactions. Don’t leave out important details that describe not only the weather, but how your character behaves.

Have fun with this one.

Wild Weather

The skies are gray and the wind is howling. Torrential rain/snow/sleet/hail is expected to fall. Trees might topple. Power lines will be downed. Roads will close.

But your character has to go somewhere. It could be to work, to the mall, to an appointment. What does she do? Does she cancel/call in/change plans? Sit at home with a cup of coffee and a good book? Or does she go outside and risk being caught in the storm?

Taking off work might not be an option. Many people do not get days off due to wild weather. They have to risk the elements or possibly lose their job. Is your character one of them?

Your task is to write a weather-related scene in which your protagonist is forced into making serious decisions. It would make a great story if the character goes outside and is subjected to the weather. Think of all the possible things that might happen! The list is endless.

Have fun with this one.