Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Gentle Rain

By Keith Fisher

We had a cloudburst here the other day. It wasn’t a press stopping, earthshaking experience, but it was welcome none-the-less. We’ve been mostly missed by the current monsoon in the area of Utah where I live, so I was happy to watch the rain as it fell in sheets.

I was reminded of a television movie about WC Fields. Apparently, he was an insomniac but he could sleep if it was raining. I’m not as sleep deprived as he was, but I’m also soothed by the sound of rain. I love to listen as the drops hit the ground. I love the sound of the water collecting into runoff, forming tiny rivulets on their way into the gutters then it races to the storm drains.

The cloudburst lasted but a few minutes and was finished almost before it began but it left a mark. The streets were wet, the grass was watered, and the humidity climbed. The swamp-cooler became ineffective. It was uncomfortable.

You may wonder where I’m going with my rain inspired writing but I just wanted to tell you about the storm.

Just kidding. There is a point here that pertains to writing.

Sometimes we write the storm but forget to write the effects. I once heard someone say, we have a character throw a ball, but we never see it get caught. It stays in our story hanging in the air forever. It never has the opportunity to hit the ground or be caught by someone.

On the other hand, we pull a handy water bottle from a backpack but never tell the reader where the backpack came from. These things are left hanging in the reader’s mind like the nagging question "Did I turn off the gas before I left on vacation?"

We can’t have a rainstorm without it making the streets wet and the humidity rise. Likewise, a character can’t let go of the string without watching the balloon as it wafts toward the heavens and gets caught by the breeze and carried away, disappearing into the sky.

Keep telling your stories but if you need to relax, I’ve got a Gentle Rains CD. It’s a wonderful storm and it helps when the rains don’t come.


Stephanie said...

Thanks for the reminder about being complete with our details. I hate it when I am reading a story and feel like I have to go back and search for details to make the story make sense.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Everyone says that the sound of rain or waterfalls is so relaxing. I must be wired completely different -- I can't stand those "relaxation" tapes. I'm glad they work for you, Keith -- they make me psycho and I could kill people.

Oh, and I can't wear magnets, either, although some people swear by them.