american-flagsw-1854255_1280Some of the ideas for using July as writing inspiration I discussed in last year’s post, and some are extensions of those ideas.

Here in the U.S. July is synonymous with Independence Day since it is the only major holiday in the month. With its historical and political importance, Independence Day has great potential for inspiration. But I am only going to discuss what I’ve experienced personally, which are family and community celebrations of the holiday.

The small town near where we live outdoes itself to create an old-fashioned and highly satisfying Fourth of July celebration. A parade kicks things off, and anyone can enter riding anything from bikes to classic cars to classic tractors. The fire department provides barbecued chicken for lunch, and the town organizes activities, like softball games, pie eating contests, and tractor pulls. They used to invite a group that did tractor square dancing, which is just as goofy as it sounds. A local singer gives a concert and then to top off the day, fireworks!

That small town would be a great setting for a middle grade mystery. A group of kids notice something strange during the parade, run all over town during the day, looking for clues, and then solve the mystery during the fireworks display.

Family picnics during the Fourth of July are fertile settings to explore relationships. If I make the day especially hot, and it’s heading that direction where I live, the heat can symbolize tensions between relatives, and then in the cool of the night, when the fireworks go off, that tension can be resolved, positively or negatively. If I am writing about several relationships, I can have both positive and negative consequences..

Although I haven’t seen the movie, this quote 1953 science fiction movie It Came From Outer Space vividly sums up how to use heat to turn up the tension in a story.

“Did you know … more people are murdered at ninety-two degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once — lower temperatures, people are easy-going. Over ninety -two, it’s too hot to move. But just ninety-two, people get irritable.”

How would you use July as writing inspiration?