Writing Prompt: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

WAS IT A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT? OR WAS IT A CRISP, CLEAR WINTER’S DAY? Does the weather in your story suggest an atmosphere of hope? Or one of dread? Here’s your writing prompt: Experiment! Set a scene in broad, benevolent sunlight. Thindexen let clouds gather overhead. Or make a list of weather conditions that could influence a story: Impenetrable snow storm. Black ice. Gale-force winds. Downpour.

For example, once, obsessed by a boy a full foot-and-a-half taller than me, I called a Yellow Cab at the height of, yup, a swirling, impenetrable, eastern Massachusetts snow storm to carry me from Newton to Cambridge where he lived—as if in a fairy tale—with three disapproving roommates.

Then . . . the halting drive through sulfur-lamp pink-lit streets; the hushed breath as the cab starts its spin; the silence, snow still tumbling, after the crash.

Weather is a gift to a writer. How can you use it?

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