When a major news story breaks that is similar to or the catalyst for one of your story lines, watch the news with a new perspective. You can pick up on ways that the news anchors relay the situation and how they describe the sense of urgency, emotion or loss involved. It can also be great to get ideas from local dialog while listening closely to eye witness accounts.
I have a friend who wrote a particular novel’s peak using some first-hand experiences during a major weather event. Nothing beats that perspective, but reporting and eye-witness accounts come in next in my opinion. This can be especially helpful if you are writing about what others, not necessarily your characters think, feel and how they react. You’ve probably already figured out what your characters think about the situation, but you can add to that with what they think of others opinions.
Handling “news” in our writing by observing the delivery methods of various channels, or our local and national news can make the writing more realistic. I have been working on a scene that involves winter weather, and I didn’t ask for it, but whoa here it comes. The forecast I listened to online just now says it is likely we will see weather like we haven’t seen in 25 years. Now that makes for all kinds of new situations to put these characters in.
Looks like I will be doing a lot of note taking and writing on that subject as I watch the news tonight and tomorrow. That is if the power stays on! Yikes