May 23, 2014  Prompt #23

PhotoLast night, I saw Venus in Fur at Denver’s Curious Theater. As an accompaniment to the show’s vigorous, changeable dialogue, the production included a thunderstorm. As I write this, back in Boulder, we’re having real live downpour, complete with rumbling thunder and flashbulb-style lightning.  All this to say: Rain is on my mind. Its tension and variability (from mist to an out-and-out thunderstorm) can enrich your writing. Yes, if mishandled, it can become a cliche, but with practice, rain (and other weather events) can skillfully drive action or accentuate tone.


  1. Describe a light drizzle, steady downpour,  late afternoon thunderstorm, or another kind of rain. Be sure to include sensory details, such as sound and smell, as well as the setting.  (Rain in a city or desert is different than rain on a beach or against a farm house.) Write for 10 minutes.
  2. Next, write a conversation that includes either a) someone making a difficult request of someone else  or b) two or three people arguing about something minor as a way to avoid a larger issue or conflict.  Write for 10 minutes.
  3. Next (you guessed it), combine the two. Feel free to adjust the dialogue or the rain to better fit each other. Write for 15 minutes.

A Few Thoughts

  1. How does the pace, intensity, and style of rain magnify or delineate the conversation?
  2. Does the rain stop and start? How does that effect the action?
  3. How do your characters react to the rain? Do they hide under trees, shut windows, place pots and pans to collect drips?

Tomorrow: Further Writing and Variations for Writing Groups

What did you think of this writing prompt? Share your thoughts.


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