Blame it on the Rain (Yeah, Yeaah)

I walked my kids to school today in a torrential downpour.  OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but it was a good hard rain, the likes of which we haven’t really seen yet.

It got me thinking, just how much consideration do I give to weather in my writing.  Surprisingly, I realised the answer was very little.

Shocking, when you consider that movies, and heck even Shakespeare, use weather all the time to try and create a certain mood in a scene.

If a character dies in a manner that is heroic, their funeral could be during a beautiful sunny day.  If their death is tragic, rain seems more appropriate.  Or does it?  It strikes me that rain is very tricky when it comes to scenes in fictional works.  I mean, rain can seem dreary and depressing, but without it, the world would die.  Rain is cleansing, life-giving, and in many ways is beautiful.  After all, rain gives us rainbows, which have inspired just how much joy and poetry through the ages?

Weather is something we take for granted.  If I had $5 for every time I told my kids I can’t control the weather, well, um, I would have enough money to build a machine to control the weather!  Thing is, as writers, we do control the weather.  Weather can play a factor in our work (i.e. it’s raining, so our protagonist crashes their car while fleeing the bad guy creating a new situation & more tension) and it can also be used to illustrate hidden meanings (your main character says they are happy while rain is splashing on the window outside could be very effective, especially when your audience knows your character is secretly miserable).

Walking through the rain today, I realised I had mentioned weather once already in my work in progress, yet I had no idea why the sun was shining at that moment.  It was a throwaway detail that I put in for no real purpose.  Now, had I started with that sun shine and had it then get overcast after a certain event occurred, that would create a nice foreshadowing.

Just as I consider what my characters look like and why, I should give the same level of consideration to their environment.  Not just floor plans or street layouts, but the weather as well.  Used right, it can really help give some “fresh air” to the story! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist)

Posted in Writing Tips and tagged , , , .