Friday, February 11, 2011

How is Your WIP's Weather?

 
"Put weather in."
~ Joseph Hansen



Weather is one of those things that I have to go back and build in during the revision stage. It's not that I don't have ANY weather in the story, but that I don't generally have enough. 

Weather and natural surroundings, in the right story, have the potential to become characters in their own right. The river in Huckleberry Finn is often considered a main character. In fact, I wrote an essay in high school justifying its role as a major character. Really, what would Huck and his awesome story be without the river?!
We can use it to help our characters, to toughen their situations slightly, or to put them through hell. Whatever the role we choose, weather has a powerful part to play if we let it.

When working away on those WIPs this weekend, make sure you haven't overlooked the weather!

Have a wonderful weekend!

33 comments:

Stephanie said...

Weather usually plays some role in my stories, but I don't think I'd consider it a major role. Usually it coincides with my characters mood.

Amanda said...

I always overlook the weather! I have to go back, re-read, make adjustments. I usually forget what season I'm in as well. If I'm not careful, it's perpetually winter! ;)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Ha! I always think of that big DON'T rule not to put weather in your opening. There are some novels I love that start with weather. I think the weather has to have a point, not just as scene setting, but somehow miming or altering the character's perception or, even, used as a foreshadowing or mood enhancer.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

So true. I LOVE weather in books.

Tere Kirkland said...

Weather is part of setting for me, and usually something I can slip seamlessly into the narrative, or character exposition.

In a book set here in New Orleans, you can't NOT refer to the weather, because it's always either terrible or beautiful. ;) Sometimes both at once. I guess living here so long has instilled a strong sense of place in me.

Now character development, that's something I struggle with, which is why I often use the weather to help bring out a character's personality.

Great post!

Heather said...

I love to use weather to set the mood so I definitely use it. I love it when authors use it to good affect so I strive to do the same thing.

Misha said...

Yikes! I always forget the weather!

:-)

Raquel Byrnes said...

In the book I just finished, the impending tropical storm is almost its own character. I use it to up tension and push the pace up.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Beth said...

That's awesome! I never really thought about weather as a character.
bethfred.com

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shannon .. so many meetings sheltering under a tree .. leading to ... fear, romance, darkness .. you're so right - weather is intrinsic to us ..

So from the umbrella day here - enjoy your weekend .. Hilary

Melissa said...

Yup, I definitely need to go back through my wip and add in more weather.

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...

Always good advise when I come here :)

The Golden Eagle said...

I have trouble remembering the weather; often there are other aspects to the story clamoring for attention!

Old Kitty said...

I love your new avatar/pic!! Lovely!!!

My current wip is set over a whole year so it starts in winter and goes through all the seasons! Weather is certainly a very important factor! Thanks for this, take care x

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

Isn't it funny how we are so conscious of weather? Don't use it in the first page, etc. But if we don't have weather at all, the story doesn't feel real. Weather is a part of life. Good post, Shannon!

Karen Lange said...

Very good point! Glad you brought this up. You didn't know that your job is to make me think, did you? :)
Happy weekend,
Karen

Myne Whitman said...

My WIP weather us mostly sunny cos it's set in the tropics. But there was a major storm at one of the plot climaxes.

Nice post.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I love that you wrote an essaying justifying the river as a major character. Hope you still have that somewhere :)

Stephanie Thornton said...

I had to get creative with the weather in Hatshepsut. It's always too darn hot in Egypt!

Jemi Fraser said...

I always have to go back in and add weather too. It's not one of those things I think about during a first draft - I mean there are a few scenes, but not much :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Shannon -

Weather can spell danger, conflict, happiness, or contentment for a character. It's an important factor in our settings.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Meredith said...

I think have one rain scene, and that's about it, so I'll definitely be thinking about that this weekend! Thanks for the reminder!

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Shannon, since I don't have a major WIP being worked on at the moment, I'll just leave you with a little Dr. Seuss:

“The storm starts when the drops start dropping. When the drops stop dropping then the storm starts stopping.”

I've always love that one!

Happy weather, whether rain, snow or shine. :)

roxy said...

Weather can be a great storytelling tool. My books are always set in the Pacific Northwest so there's generally weather with rain. Or weather with sun and rain simultaneously. Great post, Shannon!

Robyn Campbell said...

Nevah, they say nevah put the weather in the opening. The weather is in my first chapter, just not the opening. The river WAS a major character. Me and you, bff.

Hey. Who is lookin' goooooood in their new pic. Love it. You beautiful woman you. :)

Donna Hole said...

I write in the weather - its important to the mood of one of my MC; but I forget to really develop it. I have to do that in revision.

.......dhole

Kari Marie said...

I can admit that I have completely ignored the weather in my WIP. *makes a note for revision* Thank you.

Carol Riggs said...

Hmm! Good point. I do have weather doing things in my novels. I have to be careful they don't take over the scene, though. LOL I could probably boost the weather a bit in my WiP, however.

Happy weekend!

Clarissa Draper said...

One of my novel's plots is completely based on the weather. I agree, it's so important.

Catherine Denton said...

I always have to add it in too! Don't know why but I struggle with having enough weather worked in. Thanks for the reminder!

P.S. I'm probably late in noticing, but I LOVE your new profile pic!! :D

Jennie Englund said...

Weather is SO important. It has everything to do with setting. So why do we forget to put it in?

Thanks for the great reminder, Shannon!

cleemckenzie said...

Oh, yes. Weather! It's so much fun to have a stormy night, crackling with electricity while someone stalks your MC--or one of those balmy, beachy days when you've got love on your mind.

Yummy texture happens when you add some weather.

BTW The pink hair is . . . well, pink! :-)

Jen Chandler said...

I love putting in natural elements that reflect the mood, especially inner moods of my main characters.

"It was a dark and stormy night..." ;)

PS: LOVE the pink hair!!

~Jen

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