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.