where the writers are
Character Development - Day 1

For the month of February, I will be posting to my blog excerpts from my young adult novel "Norma's Revenge" as I work on character development.  Your comments, critiques, and suggestions are welcome.  Today the character is a house.

From Chapter 1 - The Convergence Zone

There was nothing extraordinary about the Trinity house with its white clapboard siding and black shuttered windows.  In fact, it was a fairly ordinary dwelling casually wrapped in a grassy lawn sprinkled with a few brazenly bold dandelions and a haphazard flower garden that nurtured more weeds than flowers.  The only features that distinguished the Trinity house from any other was its flagpole and a roofline sporting five strategically placed lightning rods.  The flagpole was in the center of the front lawn, but it hadn’t hoisted a flag at anytime during the Trinity family’s residency.  Malcolm and Catherine Trinity didn’t have time for such symbols or trivialities and Luci Trinity didn’t dare suggest what might be a colorful addition to their rather mundane home.  Such an observation was certain fodder for yet another argument and that was something Luci couldn’t bear. 

Upon moving in, Luci noticed that there was a trio of lightning rods placed equidistant along the steeped roof.  Her father, Malcolm Trinity raised an eyebrow, “Whoever put those up must have been a real nutcase!  You would think one would be plenty.”  Luci and her mother smiled and imagined the previous owners as an eccentric family with an unmatched fear of lightning.  That was, until the first thunderstorm broke.  What the real estate agent hadn’t disclosed was that the house that the Trinitys had moved into was at the heart of a convergence zone.  When thunderclouds gathered, they did so directly over the Trinity house with the largest and most ominous leaving little hope for reprieve. The thunder bellowed as if it was shouting down the house’s two brick chimneys and as it rattled the floorboards and windowpanes. Malcolm explained that there was nothing to fear and to prove it they could count the seconds between the first flash of lightning and the sound of the thunder and be assured that the real danger was far away.  For every second counted, the lightning was at least a mile away. Upon their first attempt, Luci bravely began with, “One thousand-one . . .” but was interrupted by the deafening clamor of thunder before the original flash of lightning left her eyes. The next day Malcolm calmly increased the lightning rods from three to five, while Catherine argued that he was only making matters worse.  With her critical, all-knowing manner, she hypothesized that he was only encouraging the convergence episodes by giving the lightning a target, thus increasing the danger not lessening it.  Malcolm quipped that he was the scientist in the family and her irrational reasoning held little merit. As for Luci, she stopped counting as it seemed pointless to never get beyond “one thousand-one” regardless of how many lightning rods graced their roof.

When it snowed, the Trinity’s property would be covered with a foot of heavy precipitation while the rest of the county received only a casual dusting.  Icy pellets of hail happily bounced on their lawn and garden as if welcomed home from a long journey abroad. If a wind howled through the county it would most certainly swirl around the Trinity’s two and a half acres befuddling trees, weather vanes, and any bird brave enough to nest in the few barren apple trees still standing along the property line.  Luci logged whether the weather vane spun clockwise or counterclockwise, as more subtle movements hadn’t presented themselves and the Trinity’s weather vane never seemed to rest in any one specific direction.  One might think that such occurrences made the Trinity household an interesting and fascinating place to live, but nothing was farther from the truth.