There's a scene in my work in progress where the characters are caught in a thunderstorm. I've been through plenty of storms, so I was drawing on memory for the sensory details. But one thing I had trouble remembering: how long do thunder and lightning last, once the rain starts? It seemed to me that most of the storms I've experienced started with thunder and lightning, but once the rain started, the electrical components quickly vanished. I was trying to get this right in my book.
Last night, a series of storms woke up my husband and me--more than once. At one point, the thunder and lightning were simultaneous and incredibly loud and bright, which means the storm was right the heck on top of us. "I hope all our trees are still standing," I said sleepily to my husband. (We have many trees on our property, but two of them are especially gigantic.)
Sleepy as I was, I was also doing something that will not surprise any writer who is reading this blog post: I was taking mental notes for my book. "Holy cow, it's been raining and raining and raining, and it's still thundering," I remarked. (To myself. Hubby would probably not have appreciated that little observation under the circumstances.) "If only this storm doesn't wreck our house or trees, how very useful it is for my current project."
I suppose there are very few experiences in my life where some part of my brain, no matter how small or deeply buried, isn't down there thinking about how to express it in writing.