Last night, on our way back home from town, we got caught out in a sudden storm. When we left the restaurant the skies looked broodingly dark. As we drove we caught sight of a real wall of rain off to our left, and it was just as we drove over a bridge that the winds buffeted the car about in its lane; huge lightning strokes stood out clearly against the clouds in front of us. Finally we hit the rain itself, and there was no slow transition–we went from dry to barely being able to see the car in front of us in seconds. We saw what appeared to be a police car that had wiped out in the middle of an intersection, and some folks were slowing to a crawl and putting their hazard lights on; I’m not sure, but there might have been some small hailstones mixed in with the rain.
Pick out a particularly vulnerable moment in a story you’re writing, preferably the worst possible moment for such a storm to come up, and toss it in. What kind of wrinkle does it cause in your plot? How do your characters react? What character flaws and strengths does the storm bring out in your characters? What kind of havoc might such a storm cause? Is there anything sinister causing this storm, or is it ‘merely’ an act of nature? How much damage might it do?
Write for at least ten minutes on these possibilities, or jump in and write the scene! Just get it down on paper; don’t worry yet about whether it’s any ‘good’.
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