Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Weather or not....

The wind raged at the trees and flag pole that dared stand fast. Cans and bottles were cast onto the driveway like dice rolling down a craps table. The rain, not to be outdone, battered the cans and bottles like a jazz drummer, keeping an oddly rhythmic beat. In the background, thunder accompanied the composition, and lightning set the stage.

I wrote this after standing outside yesterday during the storm (safely under my porch). This reminder about the ferocity of storms left me awed. I may use this in a book or story someday. It may inspire a story of its own.

Weather is one of those things that may get overlooked in novels. We're busy focusing on characters and plots and setting but I find that weather is rarely mentioned other than a brief one line about how hot it is, how a storm shook the windows, or rain hitting the roof. Let your characters be more than inconvenienced by getting soaked, or shivering because it's snowing. In my sci-fi novel, Lethal Dose, my main characters Dalen and Adara pass by a planet with black lightning which of course screws up all communications and electronics. In my middle grade fantasy Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines (debuting September!), weather plays a big part in the story; the animals are safe for several more days when the construction machines sent to clear their woods are trapped in mud after a horrific storm. Snow adds more complications because tracks gives the animals' locations away.

If your story takes place in Seattle, where most of the time it's rainy (I could never live there), repeated references to rain and drizzle and mist would get tiresome. But in Twilight, Bella tells Edward her favorite color is brown (like his eyes, gag), but also because everything is so green from the constant precipitation. It's understandable that one would get sick of so much green and that comment says it all.

As Mark Twain said, "Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it." So mind the weather! And let's see how it impacts your story, your character, your plot, your mood.

I'll be sitting poolside because the summer heat baked the sunflowers to perfection; they stood, a deep golden yellow, almost too perfect to behold.