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Friday, August 22, 2014

Does Weather Affect Your Stories?

Being a California native, I’ve always had to take trips to experience “weather” in the sense of really hot and humid (Southeast Asia) or really cold (Alaska).  Most of the weather we get is of the medium variety (50-70 degrees) with a rare freeze and sometimes a few days in the hundreds during August. And boy do we complain when any of those "extreme" days happen. I think we’re weather sissies.

When I thought about how the weather affected my writing, I had to scratch my brain a bit to come up with something. Then I went to my journal and thumbed through a few entries. What I found was I become more prolific on either really stormy days (usually about day three) or on really sunny, sparkly days. And I know this because I have pages that remark on exactly these weather conditions.


I did discover that any settings I write about during those wintery times have a lot of clouds and windy electrifying scenes.  Here's some wintery day writing.




The first time Marian met Justin Kane, he stood at the center of the burned out lot, making notes on a yellow legal pad while trying to stay dry under his oversized black umbrella.  The unexpected September rain had started early that morning and gave no sign of stopping.  Now with thunder promising an electric sky, the wind picked up and whipped at her jacket, blowing sharp, cold drops against her cheeks. 

There are several summer notes that involve toasty park benches with fountains playing in the background. 

The sun hung in the window, filtering light through the old glass and tinting everything amber inside the kitchen. Outside the fountain sprinkled into the pond, teasing fish to the surface. 







Since I like to write in different locations, when the rain keeps me inside I often roam to different rooms with a clipboard. I do this roaming after I put in a morning (between 4 and 8 is my usual stint) at my desk, pounding on my computer keys. Those spring and summer days allow me to be in the garden or on a hike with my journal tucked into my backpack. I can always spot entries I’ve made outside. They’re smudged with dirt and sometimes a leaf falls out when I flip the page--a small token of a day I’ve lived and written about.

One other thing I discovered, thanks to having thought about weather and writing at the same time, is that I’ve made so many notes about the sounds and textures of what I’m surrounded by, that I have tons of weather to include in almost any book I write that takes place above ground level. 

I keep thinking that Poe must have had a lot of bad weather. Dicken’s, too. I mean all of that snow and British fog had to have some effect on those stories. I’ll bet Miss Haversham wouldn’t have lived in that dark house with the moldy wedding feast if Dicken’s had written his story in, say, Hawaii.

How about the rest of you? Does weather affect your characters and your setting? Ever thought about it? 






13 comments:

  1. Very interesting subject, Have never thought about the weather being connected to how you write, but will look out in the future,

    Yvonne.

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    1. I hadn't thought about this either, but it seems to affect mine based on my notes.

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  2. I can't say weather has affected my stories. When I start writing and really get into it, I stop paying attention to my surroundings.

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  3. I don't think weather affects what or when I write. (Might affect where if it's a bad storm and I have to move from my desktop to my laptop.)

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  4. Hi Lee - I certainly struggle when it's 'boiling hot' ... but love your examples here .. and the bleak mid-winter was very true ... then those mists and vaporising ghouls across the marshes or round the corners of Sherlock's London ... I cannot write anywhere but here at home in peace and quiet ...

    Enjoy your varying writing places .. the hiking up and away sounds great ... cheers Hilary

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    1. I only have to think about those moors and I'm with Sherlock on an adventure.

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  5. Really good point. I know I'm using some bad weather in my next book that happened here where I live in NY. We write what we know, I guess.
    Great post!
    Heather

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    1. I just know weather puts me into certain moods and those moods influence how I write.

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  6. Weather certainly affects my mood while writing. I don't do much with scenery and characters, but I have found that on cold wet weeks I can't get myself to write about cheery subjects.

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  7. The weather has a huge influence on my story, for there is an endless winter in my magical world. Being there is much snow and ice (which we do not get where I live in NZ), I get to experience it through the pages of my book :)

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  8. I very much like your first image of the bridge. And yes, I do think the weather affects my writing...but probably not consciously.... or directly. It certainly affects my mood...and the way I work with images.

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