The weather outside may be frightful. But, what is the weather like in your novel? It’s easy to get wrapped up in our characters — what they wear and how they speak, what motivates and inspires their every move. We often toil over such devices as setting and dialogue, climaxes and conclusions.
But, think about it — everyday you step outside your door, you are greeted by air that is crisp or cool, or by warm breezes and a blistering sun. The weather decides your weekend plans. It dictates your wardrobe. It determines your time and travel at nearly every turn.
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So, it makes sense that your characters should have this same, very human experience. Not only will it enrich your writing, but by infusing Mother Nature into your narrative, you will bring authenticity to your work.
Weather can serve as a critical driver of plot throughout your novel. Perhaps a massive blizzard gives your villain the time and the cover to finally have his revenge. Or maybe a love match is made in heavy downpour, as the two duck for cover under an awning.
The use of weather in a story can also provide a barometer reading for your characters’ moods. A gloomy day could explain your heroine’s overpowering feeling of impending doom. Likewise, a sun-splashed afternoon could convey a sense of fun in a scene meant to reflect whimsy.
Weather can offer a pivotal perspective in the overall story arc in the hands of a skilled writer. For example, the plot may reach its boiling point just as the characters themselves are suffering from a sweltering summer heat. The narrative tension is finally released when a cool rain showers the characters and relieves the reader.
Finally, perhaps the weather will play a starring role in your writing today. A personal favorite is Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day” — a short story about school children whose families have colonized on the planet Venus, waiting for the sun peek out after seven years of constant rain.