Friday, April 25, 2014

V IS FOR VENT!

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

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.

Happy writing!

70 comments:

  1. Couldn't sleep but found your wonderful post, Interesting reading,
    Yvonne.

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    1. Thanks! Hope you got a little sleep. :-)

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  2. These were great! So funny about the "Show and Tell" problem - not so funny for the dead caterpillars though! lol

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    1. Thanks, Lexa, and thanks for stopping by.

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  3. That vent in the wall idea has all kinds of potential :) I'm thinking Poe here.
    Shells–Tales–Sails

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    1. It does have a Poe feel to it, doesn't it?

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  4. Gracias, Debie. También me encanta escribir contra el viento...
    Un gran abrazo desde Madrid.

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  5. Who would have thought that such a tiny word could stimulate such big ideas. Thanks for sharing them.

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    1. Thanks for reading and for stopping by, Julia.

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  6. Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, JOLEEEEEEENE... you know I'm going to have that song in my head all day. I once met a guy in a nightclub who came to rescue me after watching me yell and shout at someone who had tipped a drink over my best friends party dress because she wouldn't dance with him. I went bonkers and he clearly found that attractive. Or he needed a bodyguard. Turns out he was a famous footballer who fell for my charms. (So how come I go so wrong in life?) But yes, venting can lead to romance indeed!

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    1. Hee! Great story! and I loved that song--thanks for the reminder. :-)

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  7. Well shoot -- I think you've covered every kind of vent.
    Wendy at Jollett Etc.

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  8. Oh these are interesting. I like the vent in the wall idea.

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  9. What wonderful ideas you come up with! And no copyright either :) Great! If only I could write fiction....

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    1. You can always use whatever memories they might trigger and write nonfiction. :-)

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  10. Mystery - a genre that doesn't allow forgiveness - I liked that.
    Literary - drudgery, yes - I can understand the need an exotic holiday.
    Perhaps we should all have a go at different vents. We'll never know, otherwise.

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  11. I remember poking holes in jars for bugs when I was a kid. We often did the lightning bug thing. They made great night lights!

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  12. Of the whole I loved your story...isn't it the best when Hubby's can vanish all that vent anger inside by cracking some silly joke!!
    Great ideas Deb! :)

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  13. And like Juliette, I now have that song in my head, too….

    When your husband meets you at pretty much your worst and loves you anyway, then he's definitely a keeper. :)

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  14. Never realized how different the contexts can be for such a simple four-letter word. Well done, as usual! It's like you are doing 3 A to Z posts with your genre examples!!

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    1. Yes, and a few people have asked me why I didn't include the Jon writers of horror, sci-fi, paranormal, and Christian writing. I had a one-word answer – time. :-)

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  15. haha oh venting can sure be fun, whether through character or real life

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  16. Did you have to use the name Jolene?

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    1. Well, writing off the top of my head, that's the name that was there. :-)

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  17. Who new venting could get two protagonists closer. Nice one Debi!!

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    1. Yes, it works in fiction as well as in real life. :-)

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  18. Everyone needs to vent once in a while. It's health for you. Look at the those poor dead caterpillars, for example. :)

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    1. Yes, I bet they are venting in their next life. :-)

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  19. I love that you were in a bad mood when you met your husband. ;)

    I personally love to vent through my characters. :D

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    1. I do that too, but if they aren't available, I do the venting myself. :-)

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  20. Sometimes venting can be quite therapeutic.

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    1. Works for me. Before he did something irritates me. :-)

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  21. Venting sounds more like what I'm doing this month!

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    1. I've been doing a little of it, too. :-)

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  22. Loved your examples of venting. I didn't meant my husband while I was venting, but he's certainly the person I can vent to now.

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    1. Yep, they are certainly nice to have around during those times.

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  23. This is very nice! I'm not romance writer but I'm so curious about the developing of the story now!

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    1. Thank you. I love making people curious. :-)

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  24. Stumbled into your blog via the A-Z sign up list. Wonderful find! Great post, just full of ideas my muse wants to sit down and play with. You have a new follower!

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    1. Thanks, Melinda. I'm glad you stumbled my way. :-)

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  25. Excellent ideas for the use of the word vent. Another word which has more than one meaning. Your ideas almost make me want to write.

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    1. Ugh... you do writer. And you write well. And you include a lot of chocolate--what could be better than that?
      I love reading your blog, so you are a writer, even though it isn't fiction. At least I hope not. I haven't tried all the recipes yet, but I'm hoping they are real. :-)

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  26. Nice choice. You've got versatility covered with this one. And I love the comment about your husband making you laugh. It's funny how we(the overly emotional ones) can be so worked up and then something so simply or cleverly spoken will make us laugh, and make all the difference. :)

    The Immarcescible Word

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  27. I loved the interplay of the real life anecdote and the fiction. Great ideas, nice sharing. And glad to meet you (btw, I'm Jeri from storytellingmatters.wordpress.com). See you again!

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  28. A great word and you've shown how versatile it can be. I'm going to have to find a place for vent in one of my stories!

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  29. Your posts for A-Z have been absolutely amazing and inspiring. Haven't commented on them all but they have been wonderful!

    D.B. McNicol
    A to Z: Romance & Mystery...writing my life

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  30. For Sci Fi you can write a story where a planet destroying super-weapon can only be destroyed by the hero shooting a missile into its vent.

    Oh. Wait....

    :-P

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  31. You are amazing Deb. simply amazing.

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    1. Thank you so much, Judy, and I'm so glad you dropped by.

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    2. Judy, I also just want to take a moment to tell you something. Remember that prayer about writing you gave me, a poem prayer? I have it right on my desk, and I have looked at it often for inspiration throughout this blog-hop challenge. Thank you so much!

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  32. Ha, I love the story of your own venting here, Deb. The mood from hell apparently didn't keep your hubby from courting you. Venting, as in a rant, is one of my favorite ways to show a character's personality -- a win-win, in any genre, I think. Make a secondary character awful, then have the main character tear him apart.
    Oh, I can use a good venting right about now. Just a few letters left, eh. :)

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    1. Yep, venting my way to the finish line. :-)

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  33. I haven't gotten to comment often here this month, but rest assured I've been catching up as I can, and always enjoy your posts! I love the variety you provide.

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    1. Thank you, and don't worry… I'm plowing through my attempt at catching up too. :-)

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  34. Always wearing my teacher hat, i can see having students create a vent (a rant) for a character. I have an assignment somewhere, inspired by Kelly Gallagher (I think) in which I have students rant on things they hate. I need to look that up.

    Also, I think Vlad vents in MAUS I by Art Spiegelman; Pap vents about the government in "Huckleberry Finn." One could say the creature vents in "Frankenstein," which is how I think about Romance (not hearts and flowers but the literary movement). I can think of memoirs that have venting, too. I think "Sh*t My Dad Says" has some venting as does a Chelsea Handler book.

    Now I'm on a brainstorming roll that can only be stopped by my growling stomach. Cheers. via A to Z Challenge

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Glenda, and thanks for all the titles that offer stories with venting. Once you mentioned it, I could see it clearly. :-)

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  35. Just wonderful!!! I love all 3 especially the caterpillars:). It is amazing how you can take one word and weave all these different stories. All I can think of is me lying in bed enjoying the birds outside and daydreaming about my life. I then feel a sense of discomfort and I look up to the ceiling and I catch a pair of glowing eyes staring back at me from the vent.

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    1. And that is the premise for an excellent scary story! Thanks!

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    2. yup...and it really happened to me when I was a kid. Freaked me out. It was mice:)

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    3. That would have scarred me for life!

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  36. I can't help but feel for Tanner. He's in a sort of pickle at the moment.

    When I was in second grade, I remember we all brought caterpillars to school. I felt so proud when mine became a butterfly!

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    1. Mine never made it to the butterfly stage. My older sister, a tease, made me feel guilty for keeping one God's creatures prisoner. I let it go. :-)

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