Funny thing is that a lot of fiction must be set in Perfect Town, USA. The weather’s always sunny, it never gets cold, there’s never any humidity and heaven forbid it rains.
In a lot of fiction about the only thing that changes is whether it’s morning or night. That is unless the tale has zombies or vampires. When you have zombies or vampires you generally have a lot of cloudy skies and wet air. Rarely do you get vampires or zombies and pleasant weather at the same time.
As a side note, this is why I feel generally secure on the coast should the zombie apocalypse come anytime soon.
However, that still leaves us with the general lack of weather in writing.
Writers have an opportunity to take advantage of weather related events to bring their fiction alive by adding an additional layer of depth; however, many simply don’t take advantage of this.
Say you’re writing a tale of suspense. The main character is heading towards a critical point of conflict. Perhaps it’s a confrontation or perhaps a meeting with another character. Think how much more compelling the scene becomes if the weather is a factor.
Perhaps the character was caught in a rainstorm and is soaked as he first meets a new character or perhaps the weather causes him be late. Or, perhaps it’s storming outside when the character has a friend drop him off for the meeting.
The character enters from the storm and is asked, “Did you drive yourself?”
“Yes. I parked in the lot across the street.” he says.
The host studies him from head to toe then asks, “So how did you manage to come from the parking lot and not get your shoes wet?”
Now we have a nice set up for conflict.
It doesn’t have to be rain, but the element of weather can add to the story in an infinite number of ways. It can create options and conflict for your characters that you simply can’t get otherwise. Weather and weather related events can work wonders to set the mood and tone of a story without saying, “It was a dark and stormy night…”
The essence of weather in a story adds to the tone and setting. It can dictate the mood and heighten tension between the characters without having to lecture the reader. Bring the weather and your reader is suddenly reading your book in a hurricane, a snowstorm or a pop up thunderstorm.
Keep in mind it’s all about creating the landscape for the tale. If you are walking down the street in the rain and find yourself hoping for a sunny day, it may not be in your future. However, if you are writing your main character down the same street, you can do anything you want.
Pick a scene and add some weather to it and watch it come alive.
Oh and as long as you’re here, even though it isn’t in person, why not read an excerpt of The Trust or even buy a copy of your own. A percentage of all sales will be donated to canine related nonprofits. Support K9 rescues!