V is for Vent!
It’s ironic how a bad mood can lead a person to Romance. (I, Debi O’Neille, do solemnly swear that I was in the mood from hell when I met my husband, twenty-two years ago.) Venting can be a positive experience. Consider Jolene. Love was the last thing on her mind when her boss told her the vacation she’d planned would have to be canceled. What was she to do with her airline ticket? And would she lose the deposit at the ski resort? Would her sister enjoy the retreat alone? Not to mention Jolene’s severe need for a little R&R. But Ms. Iron Face didn’t care–she needed Jolene, and that was that. No negotiation. No discussion. Iron Face was needed at the Sacramento office, so at the last minute she dumps this on Jolene, and once again Jolene is expected to forgo her vacation.
Jolene just stepped into the break room, and now, with the witch away, Jolene is stomping back and forth, venting. “Just because this stupid place is her entire life doesn’t mean it should be mine. I have another life, doesn’t she know that? Apparently not! Who does she think she is, anyway? Who cares if some stupid higher-up is coming next week, and she’ll be gone? I should have to drop my life and bow down and kiss her pampered little painted toes?”
“Remind me never to get on your bad side,” a deep voice from behind her says.
And of course, it’s Mr. Higher-Up–gorgeous as ever–who dropped in early to meet the staff before getting to work.
Okay savvy romance writers. Their hearts are beating a dance, so you can take it from here. (By the way, my husband got me out of my bad mood by saying something so funny that I had to forget my anger and laugh. We’ve been together ever since, and we’re still laughing.)
Mystery writers should have a fun time with this word. There’s that vent in the wall. Now take a guess–was the murder committed by the carbon monoxide emitted into the room via that vent, or is that vent hiding the weapon the killer plans to retrieve later? And then he’d dispose of the evidence in the river or under newly poured cement. So now you have a couple ideas for the how, and all you need to figure out is who and why. That’s not too hard. Jeremy did it. He doesn’t consider this victim a victim at all. No, he only knows him as the drunk driver who killed his father. Forgiveness? Not in this life.
Your sleuth? She’s the soon-to-be ex-wife who’s under suspicion of the crime. After all, with no finalized divorce yet, the estate is now hers. Jeremy’s just fine with her getting the rap. He’s been taking one of her art courses (just to get closer to his target), and the woman had nothing good to say about his painting. Besides, he knows what a low-life her husband was, and she let him get away with it for years. Doesn’t that make her an enabler?
Literary. Pauline stitched away at her sewing machine as she had every day for fifteen years. She put the topstitching on the vent, that wonderful slit creating a slight flap on the back of the jacket, and imagined wearing it. Smoothing her hands over the lapels. Feeling little whooshes of air coming through the vent, relieving the sweat on her back. Inhaling the scent of freedom, and soon a lungful of fresh air for the rest of her life. She already had three small bags stashed away inside the vent in wall of her bedroom. She’d be free soon. She would, wouldn’t she?
She thinks so now, but what drudgery might she be carrying inside herself that, unless she faces it head on, will come with her no matter how far she travels? The escape she’s aiming for might not be exactly what she gets.
Children’s stories. Tanner forgot to poke holes in the lid of the jar to vent it for air, so now he’s got three dead caterpillars for Show and Tell. And after all that work learning about them and writing a little blurb to recite in front of the class! Yet, right now all he could think about was his grandfather’s words–“Science should not be careless!”
He’d never make a scientist. He’d never make a good biologist. He can’t even pull off a good Show and Tell presentation. What would he do next year when he’d actually get to enter the science fair? Kill a ladybug? And what would Grandfather say when he finds out Tanner didn’t participate in Show and Tell, and that the caterpillars died? They never even got a chance to become the butterflies they were meant to be.
Tanner just can’t accept that fact. So he’s going to go out and find more caterpillars, but he’ll meet trouble along the way. Figure out three things that can go wrong, and what does Tanner do then to solve his problem? Maybe he’ll end up capturing a butterfly and take it home, and then just tell his grandfather that he changed his mind on topics. Or maybe he’ll tell the truth. So what will it be, writers? Will he find some way to give a presentation for Show and Tell tomorrow or not?
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.