Been a bit overwhelmed lately, starting a new temp assignment that involves an hour-long (each way) commute. I don’t like having to drive. I certainly don’t like crowded roads full of commuters who make bad, rushed decisions all the time. This morning that has led me to think about the driving scenes I have written in my stories. Are my characters as stressed out by it as I am? Have I ever written a scene with a character who is clearly enjoying their driving?
Going all the way back to the first short story I had published (for a charity collection), I wrote a harried businesswoman heading home from a business trip in a taxi (this was before ride-sharing existed as a thing). She wasn’t driving, so she was free to think about the woman babysitting her baby son at home.
In my first novel, Turning Point, I have several scenes that take place in cars driven by one or the other of my main characters, AND a chauffeured limo scene as they head to a big celebrity event. The very first scene of Turning Point I have Brenna sitting in her parked car, wondering if attending this little kid’s birthday party at Cassidy’s home is really what she wants to be doing. She’s nervous, anxious, tapping her hands on the wheel, temporizing. Now, I’m thinking it’s a wonder she got to the address without crashing into something or running a light, or whatnot, because she is hella distracted.
In the next scenes in cars both my main characters Brenna and Cassidy are with their current partners. They are very uncomfortable passengers being driven around with their paths and destinations literally being determined for them.
The biggest in-car scene that has the two of them together for the first time is a long drive out for a camping trip. Brenna is driving, it’s early morning, their kids are in the car. There’s a sense of airiness and freedom in their dialogue and their physicality. They’re starting on paths of their own choosing, metaphorically introduced in this scene and carried through for the rest of the camping trip.
So, yeah, OK. I started this post looking for situations where characters look at driving like I do, and ended up on a ramble about how a driving scene can be a metaphor for taking control of your own path or having it controlled for you.
Pretty deep for a Thursday, before 7:00. Oh well. I have run out of time for my writing session this morning, so I’ve got to wrap this up.
If you want to read Brenna and Cassidy’s full story, Turning Point (and the sequel, Turn for Home) ebook is available from Supposed Crimes.
I’m going to queue this post up for publication while I’m at work, so if you have comments, leave them, and I’ll follow up when I get home. Gotta go!
Have a great Thursday, everyone!