how's the weather?

Here in Louisville, Kentucky is it below fifty degrees and drizzling. I quipped on my facebook status that the song of the day is November Rain.

But, I digress. That is not the purpose for this post.

When I want to avoid actually writing the words of my work in progress, I read about how I can make it better. And since I am often stuck behind my desk at a computer and can't spend endless hours at bookstore cafes sipping one hazelnut latte after another while browsing through books on my craft, I often look for websites that provide useful insights.

Today, I found author Sandra Miller's website, which offers great fiction writing tips on aspects of writing ranging from character development to point of view and perspective. She also has this to say about creating a vivid setting:

What about weather? The weather in your character's world will change. Depending on the season, you may have rain, or snow, or blistering heat. If you don't provide a sense of the weather--and the greater context of season--the reader is left with a sense of unreality about this place...

Then I realized that though the first few chapters of my ms cover approximately eight years in the early life of my character, all the action takes place in the summer. This might not be a problem, but the only way readers would notice that it was summertime is because there are lines such as,

It was summertime again, and Laurel was a proud kindergarten graduate.

Ick! I find it odd that "show, don't tell" is so ingrained in me when it comes to emotion, but I never considered that I needed to do that with the weather.

I can't wait to create a more realistic setting, one that is richer with description and doesn't need an announcement for the changing of the seasons.

Comments

Travener said…
The cold rain dribbled down Amber's face, making her long for the warm touch of the sun she had known just a couple of months before...
Because I'm a total nerd (and because I have a minor in geology), I actually have plate tectonics drawn up for my little world.

So, yes, whenever I'm working on a story, I keep in mind the weather. And, for a fantasy story, I keep a little map and plot out what the weather will be like.

Want to take it a step further? Be sure that you know what phase the moon is in during the course of action in your story.
Tina Lynn said…
There is no "weather" here in Arizona. I'm cold now, but it isn't really "cold". It was 75 today, and I was freezing! Anyhoo, my WIP is set in Arizona, so I don't really have to worry too much about weather.
That's a great point about weather. My stories often dictate to me what season fits. My romance was very hot, so i went with summer. My YA was more creepy/mysterious, so i did late fall/early winter.
Travener: yes, Amber does long for the touch of the sun!

Mjenks, inDefatigable: I may need your assistane regarding the phases of the moon. Are there websites available which would tell me whether or not the moon would have been full on a May night in Louisville, Kentucky in 2005?

Tina Lynn: I would give my left boob for 75 degree weather right now.

Roni: I like using the seasons as appropriate backdrops for the plot... steamy summer love, scary autumn. Nice.
You should be able to consult an Almanac for that. They usually keep the phases of the moon up to date based on the date. I mean, if we can trace the phases of the moon back during prehistoric Europe, I'm pretty sure we can pick up on Louisville in 2005.

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