A. L. Buehrer What I Write and Why

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Talking about the Weather

I keep hearing people say that yet another detail you should never include in your fiction-writing is reference to the weather. Nobody wants to hear about it, they say. Just get straight to the action, don’t bother setting the scene, nobody has the patience for that, just go, go, go.

  And most importantly, never ever open a scene, or (flinching) a book with weather.

  Again, I could be completely weird, but I personally am not all that offended when an author takes note of the atmospheric conditions. People, especially the kind who write cash-fiction, seem to have lost all regard for the idea of mood in writing anymore. Also, unless your story is set in a ridiculously temperate climate, it’s very likely that weather will actually affect the plot. Even if you are the kind of writer that only writes down what happened in the story, and nothing else, remember that blizzards, droughts, ice-storms, and hurricanes also happen.

  I like meteorology, I’ll admit that. I also love richly atmospheric writing. Mood in writing isn’t just a disembodied emotional or mental feeling, it can be intensified and symbolized by the physical world. Weather is a very natural and artistic way to do that. Wind blows restlessly down the empty streets as the sky darkens, the heat intensifies in the afternoon and purple haze stifles the distant trees, the hero wakes up from a bizarre nightmare to the sound of thunder, and lightning blazes over the snow-covered world. Please!!! We can’t stand reading about this. Edit that out, you’re losing your readers!!!!!


  The Stardrift Trilogy opens quite unabashedly with weather, as does the Rhapsody Threnody series. I honestly don’t see why that would be such a drawback for anyone. Don’t omit details if they can be used to make your writing strong. Ever. Details don’t have to be boring or irrelevant. Try manipulating them to see if they can work for you before throwing them out.

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