Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S IS FOR STOVE!


 S is for Stove

 Ideas can’t be copyrighted, so these ideas are free for you to use.

Stoves can warm a room for a Romantic setting, if you have the right people cranking up the heat. Jalynn wasn’t thinking about cooking her way into a man’s heart when she popped into Olson’s Appliances. She knew only that she’d have the upside of thirty people she’d never met come Saturday for the Everyone’s Thanksgiving meal her mother had always put on, and Jalynn’s stove was about as reliable as an ex-boyfriend. Before she passed, her mother had asked Jalynn to continue the tradition of goodwill, sharing a meal with those whose families were estranged or distant, and by God, Jalynn would keep her word.

She ogled a shiny chrome stove trimmed in black, admired the accessory of a grill you could get, loved the sparkling self-cleaning oven, and had almost made a decision when she saw a retro-styled red stove. Perfect. And so was the man hunched over it, inspecting the dials and features. Was he, too, in the market? Think, Jalynn, think. How can you meet him? “Um, excuse me, sir. Do you know anything about that model?”

His smile warmed the room, and in return, Jalynn flashed the smile she usually reserved for serious flirting.

Okay, there’s room for improvement here, but you romance writers at least have the ingredients for a heart-pounding moment for these characters, and you can whip this blurb into a spicy dish at your will.

Mystery writers are probably too familiar with the old-fashioned (but still used) method of murdering someone by carbon monoxide poisoning using a gas stove, so I’m going to bypass that idea. Instead, consider the timing device wired to the stove that’s going to trigger an explosion that will leave no witnesses. Your sleuth won’t even have any desk drawers to snoop through for clues, no closet, cupboards, or mattresses. Nada. Your sleuth starts to wonder, If you’re going to do it like this, then why the stove rather than the ignition of her car?

Literary storytellers might consider that old Franklin stove with the one missing foot.  The stove was one of the few items Mama Harrington had kept from the old country, and the only thing that survived the years gone by. Now it belonged to Kaitlyn in all its worn and jagged wonder. What was she to do with it in her white-walled suite? She didn’t have to wrestle herself too hard to decide to donate or recycle it. Yet, every time she made an appointment for a handyman to help with the lifting and hauling, she found herself cancelling, and she couldn’t put her finger on why. Or she didn’t want to. So, under the surface, what does this stove symbolize to Kaitlyn? Why can’t she let go of the ugly thing?

Children’s stories utilizing the warmth of a stove might circle around a character’s first cooking lesson—boiling water for macaroni and cheese. This will be a lifelong skill, as it’s unlikely that eleven-year-old Tarin’s future family will never serve up this worldly dish. Of course, it’s not as simple of a task as it seems, and Mom left Tarin in charge while she scoots away to pick up the dog from the pound again (Spot sneaked out three times this week, so far.) The pound is only two blocks away, and Mom said she’d be back before the water was hot, but if she gets detained, Tarin should just shut off the stove and wait until Mom returns.

Tarin is texting on her older sister’s phone, waiting for the water to boil, when she suddenly hears hissing and spitting. She looks up to see water gushing out of the pan, all over the stove. She’s frantically cleaning up the mess when she drops the phone into the sink, which is half filled with water, soaking a pot that had been cursed with scorched pudding earlier that day. Now Tarin’s cooking lesson is compounded into a bigger lesson. To round this story out nicely, show three mishaps, starting with the smallest and moving to the biggest and most tense.

What ideas can you pull off the top of your head? If you can offer some in genres I didn’t cover, such as horror, sci-fi, or fantasy, please share! Readers will appreciate it.

Happy writing!

 

84 comments:

  1. Some interesting uses for stoves in stories. Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday and the follow. Am visiting to return the favour. Look forward to getting to know you, Debi.

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne. I appreciate the return visit and follow so much!

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  2. Thanks again for your ideas, Debi. You are providing a most useful resource.

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  3. I would never have thought of a stove as a way to meet a man. I've have to check out the appliance store next time I visit. :)

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    1. Yep – you might find something very interesting there. :-)

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  4. Who would have known that such a usual item could provide such a background. I so enjoy your posts Debi and am keeping them for future reference. Thank you so much.
    Garden of Eden Blog

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    1. I'm glad you're keeping them. They are fun to write, but it's even more enjoyable to know that somebody finds them useful.

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  5. Quite an unusual prop but still love your blog posts!!

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    1. Yep, I was going for unusual here. :-)

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  6. I liked that old stove, especially!

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  7. You have done so much work and really used your creativity for this challenge! I like all the ideas with the stove. For the mystery, maybe the killer used the stove, versus the car, because she is housebound and loves to cook. It's also getting her in a normally safe and happy place.
    I also thought of the old short story that is in many English class anthologies (around 8th grade) called "Lamb to the Slaughter." The woman kills her husband with a frozen chunk of meat (like a big roast), then cooks it and serves it to the detectives when they arrive!
    Play off the Page

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    1. I don't remember ever reading that short story, which might date me a little, but I love the blurb about it. I'm going to have to look it up now. Thanks.

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  8. Love cooking disaster stories! I guess it's because I've had so many kitchen disasters of my own in my time.

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    1. Thanks, and yes, they can be easy to relate to. :-)

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  9. My first thought re: stoves is putting your hand on one and burning it! ouch!

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    1. That would be a lesson well learned. :-)

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  10. I must have a perverse mind because when I thought of stoves for murder/mystery...I thought of shoving someone in it, much like the witch in Hansel and Gretel does with the children she eats. :)

    Then again...my last name is Dement....I'm demented for sure!

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    My A to Z
    Caring for My Veteran

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    1. Well, if it works for stories, it's good!

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  11. The only thing I know about stoves is that they generate heat. Just kidding. All of these ideas are great... as usual!

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  12. Absolutely love the way you think (and write) I am going to bookmark some of these ideas for future use. So glad to have connected with you

    Carol @ Battered Hope

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  13. Well at least i can use a stove easy enough in a story, real life, not so much lol

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  14. You picked a really hot topic for today. :)

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  15. Love what David said before me - and thanks so much for the visit to my blog today. Nice to "meet" you.

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  16. I like the stove (a wood stove) to warm up the room in a romance setting, somewhere out in the woods, a nice evening, including music and wine, and ... oh, I could go on.

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  17. Every time I stop by to see what you come up with for each letter, my mind always turns toward horror and how each item or theme you discuss can be used for murder. Obviously I have a dark mind when it comes to writing. haha

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    1. So you should have some frighteningly dark stories working. :-)

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  18. When I consider a stove in relation to stories, the first thing that always comes to my mind is Hansel and Gretel, and the witch's fate. The second thing I consider is the love for cooking one of my characters developed later in life. I'm still not quite sure why he did, but it's something I hope to learn. :)

    The Immarcescible Word

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    1. Yeah, death by stove could be interesting.

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  19. I love what you're doing with all these ideas. Very creative! Thanks for popping by my blog yesterday!

    Elsie
    AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge

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  20. A stove can bake a cake for a crew of magical fairies and elves.

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    1. Great idea. And maybe the fairies are from cupcake land and the elves are from Keebler forest. :-)

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  21. Hmm. Maybe a fantastical story of a stove being the secret entrance to some other world . . . One must go through the stove to the land of the Brownies! Har!

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  22. Nice to meet you, Debi. Thanks for following my blog, I did the same.

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  23. You certainly do come up with some ideas whatever the letter. Well done, interesting to read.

    Yvonne.

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    1. Thanks, Yvonne. I'm listening you your tunes as I work. Blown in the Wind is playing now. :-)

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  24. I wouldn't have thought of "stove" as the word to build a story around. Great ideas!

    LittleCely's Blog

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  25. Stoves are great for cooking up witches:) I could go all Sweeney Todd but that has been done. What if the stove was a sentient being and loved the family he was cooking for and saw all their antics?? Love the play on the kids cooking-i have burnt pots before

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  26. I guess since I write science fiction, I don't have a lot of stoves in my stories...
    And new follower!

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    1. Thanks for the follow, Alex, and it's time to put a stove in your stories--it's time for the six million dollar stove or the bionic grille! :-)

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  27. It seems like Alex's visit triggered the sci-fi stove ideas.
    Great post as usual.
    Did you get a chance to check out that site?

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    1. Yes, I did get over there, and I am giving it some thought. :-)

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  28. Love the interesting ways you can look at a stove, depending on the genre! A red stove says serious romantic business to me...along with the hot guy hunkered down in front of it. ;)

    Thanks for visiting the UR site today!

    River Fairchild – A to Z April Challenge
    Untethered Realms

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    1. Thank you, and thanks for the return visit.

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  29. Romancing the Stove...love it. Thanks for visiting today for the Letter 'S'...I appreciate your comment...good to know post are being read and enjoyed. Same goes for me with yours.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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  30. Hi, debi,

    What a fun prompt.... In fantasy it can be a magical stove. Any one can put a empty plate inside and voila a delicious meal or baked good can instantly pop out.

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  31. Sources of heat always bring people together, especially in the winter or in harshly cold climes. I can see how the stove could be a central feature in a story,

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  32. I think of the big round wood-burning stoves in Vermont general stores many years ago when we were on a bike tour and would stop for a warm up because of the rain! Could have been a romance or mystery somewhere nearby!

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  33. Cool concept -- very clever to take one concept and spin it for different genres. You've got me covered w/ romance. ;)

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  34. I love the idea of cooking and food in a story. Nice setting.

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  35. I am also know following you on this blog.

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  36. Wow, you have an interesting theme happening here! Enjoyed reading some of your recent posts here. Very creative indeed! Thanks for your visit earlier at my blog. I am now following you too :)

    Beauty Interprets, Expresses, Manifests the Eternal

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  37. some great examples thank you.

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  38. Blood suffused the water in the bowl as she rinsed the cloth she'd been using to clean the stranger's sword wound. She knew nothing about him, only that he had come to her rescue when that brute had attacked her. She finished cleaning his injured shoulder, then went to the stove and stirred the herbal mixture she would use as a poultice. If only he would regain consciousness...

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  39. Good ideas. My current novel has a character who's inept in the kitchen. She gets transported back 150 years and learns how important cooking was back then.

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    1. That sounds like a great novel. I can see where she'd get a surprise at the difference in cooking then from the microwaved dishes today. :-)

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  40. I thought surely you couldn't come up for much for stove...I was wrong again.:)
    Maggie@expatbrazil

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    1. Hee. Really I can't think of a noun that could and somehow be used as an object in a story, and have a lot of meaning in the story if not be a central object, or at least something to propel the story forward. But I'm sure someday I will come up with the object that stumps me. Glad I'm not there yet.

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