Saturday, February 13, 2016


It's extremely cold here right now, and it affects our lives. We've had people change weekend plans on us, and my daily walk was very different.

Weather affects us. I'm sometimes mystified by books in which it never rains or sleets or snows, although the story is set in a place and time where this weather should occur regularly. The characters are never panting from a heat wave or shaking rain off their umbrellas; they never trudge through snow or snuggle in front of a fire. There doesn't seem to be any weather at all.

I'm not recommending a weather report in every story. I'm just suggesting that writers think about whether this part of the setting can be useful in influencing the characters, flavoring a scene, or even setting up critical obstacles. We live with heat, cold, lightning, tornadoes, drought, floods. Does your character have a leaky roof? A temperamental furnace? Does he know the sound of tornado sirens? Has she seen the aurora borealis? Does she lie awake on hot sheets, wishing her family could afford air conditioning? Does he live on the street? Does weather bring them closer to, or push them farther from, the other characters?


  1. That's an interesting observation you made about weather not being a significant point in books, especially since most niceties among people tend to revolve around discussion of the weather.

    Right now, there's a drought in California. Being conservative with water usage can serve as an interesting setting in a story where there isn't enough water.

    1. Living in a severe drought does make you conscious of every drop. Scarcity of an essential resource affects how we look at the world.