Monday, September 28, 2009

Whether You Weather

How much does the weather impact you? Do months without sun cause you to blanch into the all popular vampire? Does your attitude follow suit?

I read a book not long ago where one of the characters was obsessed with The Weather Channel. Weather is the old fallback where conversation is concerned. Is it your fallback? My dad and I discuss the weather often. He monitors it for us, from a two day drive away. It’s how he shows love. You should hear his giddy anxiety when a major storm is approaching or when his weather station shows the swirling white cloud headed for anywhere in a three hundred mile radius of where we live.

If you’re a writer, how do your characters react to weather? Is one of them just hunky dory about torrential downpours? Does another character avoid humidity because she lives in fear her hair will transform into a clown wig? Do you enjoy describing seasons and unique weather patterns? Even more, have you thought about how your characters respond to weather?

Without going overboard, I delight in coming up with ways to depict the sun, leaves in the fall, and the snow. In my current novel I wrote, “Lindsay awoke to a window fractured with a spider web of icy frost.” I enjoyed this way of indicating the weather had turned rather than mentioning snowflakes or chilly air.

And don’t even get me started on clouds. Though I could create a list of hundreds of impressions clouds give off, I try to incorporate only one or two of these into each novel. Clouds truly are magnificent though and the colors in the sky…

Are you able to cleverly use nature in order to foreshadow or suggest a tone shift in your work? I’m obviously not talking about looming clouds and rain to signify something depressing or a bright cheery sun rising in the sky when you want to convey a happy ending on the horizon. But, a gust of wind, a well-timed leaf crunch and striations of plum and gold in the sky can be added into your WIP with additional details to flavor your scene.

So three questions to choose from today…How much does the weather impact you? And your characters? Do you enjoy writing about changing seasons and particular aspects of weather?

*photos by flickr
*I'm over at Live Beautiful later today


  1. That's really interesting to think about, because weather DOES affect my mood. I just don't have as much energy on rainy days.
    But I've never thought about using that feeling or reaction with my characters. I do need to work on scenery and descriptions more.

  2. My current novel is set in the south in July. It was lots of fun to come up with ways to describe the heat and humidity.

    At one point I say something along the lines of 'she was trying to be polite despite the wet heat streaming down her back and making her shoulder blades prickle'. (I don't remember the exact line,but that's close to it)

  3. I LOVE weather. I am a weather geek! I study the weather. I haunt places like The Weather Channel and National Weather Service, much to the amusement of friends and family. I am fascinated by storms, seasons, cloud formations. I have really enjoyed learning to predict weather by watching the clouds and wind direction, using a small book we found when I was homeschooling my sons and we studied weather for a month.

    As a a result, I know that weather shows up in my writing. Not in obvious ways,at least to me, but it's usually there. And yes,the weather of the day affects me emotionally -- sets the mood and tone. But I might be different from a lot of people in this way: I find something to enjoy in almost every type of weather.

  4. Funny you should ask, the weather is practically another character in my third installment of my series. It's the harvest (Halloween) issue so it's a dark and stormy night, every night. ;)

  5. I NEED sun! Very sad in the wintertime. :O)

  6. I find that I'm most productive in the winter months. Maybe it's because I'm not tempted to go outside. Anyway, I struggle with describing weather in my writing. It is actually something I have been working on a great deal in my revisions.

  7. weather does impact my mood - though I love all forms of weather! If it's raining for days on end I will start to feel gloomy. But, I do love the occasional rainy day to curl up with tea and a book -- or take that wonderful afternoon nap! :) I love snow ... but eventually the coldness of winter will get me a little down. I adore sunshine and warmth and a beautiful spring/summer day will leave me in a bouyant mood! Fall is my favorite. I love the crisp air and the perfect temperature. I find myself the most joyful and content in Autumn. :)

    Great question!

  8. Hi Wendy!

    The winter is my least favorite season, it pains me to leave the confines of my warm bed.

    In my writing, I truthfully struggle to depict it as effortlessly as you have in your post. I really think I need to spend more time in nature and just resting in my surroundings so that I can grow in this area. Weather certainly adds depth and a visual for a story.

    Blessings to you...

  9. I like your description of the frost, Wendy! It sounds just like something I'd envision you writing! And you can probably guess that my writing doesn't contain too many descriptions! I do like to try to have my setting help depict the mood of the scene when necessary. I know I can improve on this!

  10. I love the change of the seasons where I live, but I would love it if winter only lasted one day. I love the pictures today, Wendy. It's the rainy season in a very humid climate in my current WIP, and the setting is like a main character in this novel. I hope by the time I'm finished I've done a good job of describing it. We'll see.

  11. Gorgeous pictures, as usual Wendy! Sometimes I love a rainy day, and sometimes my characters do too!

  12. I love, love, love the rainy season as there is something about the smell of rain while being wrapped up in a warm quilt... Makes me shiver with delight even just writing it out!

    I also enjoy it each time the weather shifts...when summer rolls over to allow the cool air to flood the earth...when spring's sun fights to send some warmth thru the chill's forcefield. makes me smile!

  13. In my daily life, a stretch of bad, cloudy or wintry weather definitely changes my mood--not for the good :D Just as an unexpected day of sunshine makes me smile.

    I love writing about the weather in unexpected ways in my books. I've used rolling clouds and icy snowflakes to foreshadow an event before and I loved writing that scene. Being able to describe the weather made me feel like I was right in that scene with the rest of the characters.

  14. Since I write biblical fiction, the entire lifestyle of my characters revolves around the weather and agricultural seasons. So weather is absolutely core in my writing.

    And I'd never spoil the ending, but weather was the antagonist for my climatic finale in the novel about to be submitted to publishers.

  15. Ugh, weather ABSOLUTELY affects my writing, especially if I'm expecting one type of weather and get an entirely different one :(

    "Does another character avoid humidity because she lives in fear her hair will transform into a clown wig?" I was just writing something along these lines the other day (mostly because I AM that character!LOL)

    I love using the wind in my stories. You never know what scents will come in on a breeze, what thoughts they will trigger, what strangers they will bring with them!

    Great post, Wendy!

  16. I hadn't realized how much I need sunlight before we moved to a sunnier house. Sunshine makes have a sense of well-being I can't describe. I also love the wind and storms, but not where we're living now as those very things can be the hare bringers of tornadoes. We're moving again soon, and I can't wait to enjoy a really good storm again.

    I haven't actually ever had the weather affect my characters, but I'm intrigued by the idea. Usually there's something going on, but I like the idea of it affecting them personally. I shall have to add this in soon. I have the perfect story for it. :)

  17. I have used nature for foreshadowing. I also like to use the weather to help define different scene activities. It is a great tool for conflict too and mood inducing.

  18. Wendy: The weather affects me WAY too much, I must admit. I tend to be uplifted in mood when I can see the sun, no matter how cold it is.

    I do include the weather some in my articles and books, but probably not enough. Thanks for the prompt!

  19. Great post Wendy, and I love those beautiful pictures. I love weather but I'm not sure it affects me. Rainy or sunny, it's beautiful. But what a great idea about having it affect characters!!!

  20. Weather does effect me. I need the sun. But I do love the rain, storms (not hurricanes) at times and the change of seasons. Uh humm, what there is in FL. But thanks for the ideas in my writing--to use the weather in relation to my characters, not just landscape.

  21. Yes, weather affects me! My favorite kind is crisp, sunny, and breezy - with colorful trees.

  22. I love that you take something we take for granted and make it important to write about in our books.,
    Weather affects me A LOT! I LOVE the sun! And can't take too many dreary days.

  23. Jennifer, hope it works if you try it. I swear sometimes I feel like an actress "getting into character" before I start to write...these kind of things come to mind. I would not be a good actress however. I can't bluff for anything.

    Tess, I like the shoulder blades prickling in the heat. My second novel had numerous sun blasting days...It was fun, yet difficult to come up with creative descriptions.

    Cassandra, so glad you stopped by. You are welcome here anytime *whether* or not you decide to come back. Okay, my mind is fading, sorry for the lame joke. My dad gets super excited about the weather, too. It's fun to watch when I visit. I can remember filling up the bathtub with water anytime a hurricane threatened our area as a kid.

    T.Anne, weather as a character, NICE!

    Diane, me too. Self-proclaimed SADD (or is that some other group...seasonal affect disorder). Not sure I really have it, but I know lack of sun affects me greatly.

    Lazy Writer, great attitude and way to inspire me that I'll get a ton written in the coming months b/c I won't be missing out.

    Lauren, autumn is my favorite as well. I think people think about weather more than they like to admit, so I thought it would be fun to come right out and ask about it in this post.

    Tamika, I'm big on visuals and trying to get the reader to really crawl inside my character's heads. Pulling off blankets in winter = ripping off a BandAid.

    Jody, I can't wait to read your books! I love that you could envision that from me. It makes me feel as though my voice is coming across clearly and that is thrilling to the core.

    Heather, your seasons posts were a huge inspiration for my post today. I still think of those! Rainy climate. I think I could have fun with rain.

    Jill, I picture some of your characters dancing in the rain and if I try hard enough I can picture YOU doing the same. :D

    Bina, I'd have to agree...there really *is* something about the smell of rain. And that smell turns into something totally different when it's coming from my rain-soaked dog.

    Cindy, yes, that's it. Sometimes weather can do wonders for throwing the reader right into a scene so they feel like they are there! Nicely worded.

    Anne L.B., I hope you realize you make me jump up and down clapping in my brain. Can't wait to read your work! You are more of a mentor than you realize.

    Beth, you sparked a cool thought for me...the scents that come on a breeze. Thinking on this. Thanks for that.

    Danyelle, I can imagine you talented as you draft a story with impacting weather. Sunshine calms me and restores my thinking calms my need to be always moving. I've often found ways to nap in the sun. I'm still a dog person, however.

    Eileen, conflict and mood inducing. I love thinking of weather as a tool we can use. Reminds me writing is so much about controlling our own little worlds.

    Jeanette, it impacts me a good deal too. No problem about the prompt. I just pass along things that come to me as I learn.

    Jessica, you must be a relaxing person to be around. Laid back. Ahhhhh. That's an attractive quality.

    Karen, I love a good storm. The sights, smells, sounds, feel of wind on my face...all of it.

    Katie, it should come as no surprise to you that you've just described my favorite as well.

    Terri, I think that is some of the art of writing, taking things that we don't think we pay attention to, but do more than we know and revealing it in subtle ways throughout a story. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Ladies, that you come here and take the time to respond impacts me. Thank you for your visits here. My thoughts are grateful and I'll back 'em to say I am too. :D

    Stretch out on the bed (hopefully no bones will pop or click out of place) and be at peace knowing every night, even in your dreams, you are protected and LOVED by the MOST HIGH GOD.

    ~ Wendy

  24. Sun, sun, give me sun. I am sadly affected by the weather.

  25. Your dad sounds like my dad...he always knows what the weather is like where I'm at. It makes me feel like he's still looking out for me.

    The weather affects me greatly. While it doesn't determine my mood, it certainly is a good predictor. I think that might be in part why I like to have the curtains closed at home...if I can't see it's cloudy, it won't bother me. Perhaps my new office will be good because it doesn't have a window!

  26. Funny that wherever I go, people usually tend to call me "Sunshine". I guess that's the energy I give off. And not to my surprise I am a sunshine child. I love the sun...but oddly enough tend to write more in the fall and winter. Go figure! :)

  27. Great post. I enjoy sun. Blessings.


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