Saturday, April 23, 2016

Stormy Weather

My novels are all set in summertime, my favorite season. In Promiscuous Mode, (a computer term) my work in process, the protagonist, Laura, is consumed by problems and conflicts. Weather symbolizes her issues. Just after she finds out the man who hired her is dead, she encounters his funeral procession in the rain. More rain pours down when a lowlife character is snooping on her life. Another incident is a thunderstorm on a lake when Laura is fishing with a friend and his daughter. They find an old boathouse to shelter in and of course something happens. More conflict, more problems. During another storm, someone snoops around the house where Laura has gone to keep a frightened young woman company. My husband says the North Woods have never had such a rainy summer.

In Festival Madness, the heat and dust at the Burning Man Festival echo the problems for main character Emma. A pea soup early morning fog in the Adirondacks delays the characters from their floatplane trip. Weather worms its way into everything. 

I use fog in World of Mirrors, as well. A thick blanket of it fog hovers over the Baltic, and my characters must cross the shipping lanes in a tiny sailboat with no wind and a noisy motor. Bad guys are searching for them. Nothing good happens. I almost scared myself writing those scenes. 

My only novel with a winter scene is The Shadow Warriors. The protagonist passes information on a park bench in the Boston Public Garden on a frigid day. No swan boats, no flowers, just danger and drama. That’s good isn’t it? 

Characters freezing, sweating, wet, bedraggled, suffering.  That’s what we like in fiction. And the story can turn. Remember the thousands of daffodils that became the first sign of spring in Dr. Zhivago? What a welcome sight after a Russian winter.  

Make weather an antagonist in your fiction, and you have build-in drama and conflict. Man against nature. Hasn’t it always been that way?  

See what these bloggers have to say about weather and fiction. 


Rhobin Lee Courtright said...

You've used the weather a lot, but sounds great, and yes it is man against nature.

Victoria Chatham said...

Man against nature is one of the themes to create conflict I taught to Introductory Creative Writing students. They amazed me every time with their inventiveness!

Skyewriter said...

I've used fog as well. Once as cover for a man bringing contraband into Boston Harbor when the British were occupying the city and trying to strangle the citizens into submission. And now that I think of it, that's kind of symbolism as well - keeping things better not seen under a cloak of fog.

darkwriter said...

Good post. You use weather well in your writing and it sounds like you've used all kinds of weather to emphasize different points.

Rachael Kosinski said...

Interesting! I liked the bit about man against nature; that's one of the building blocks we always learn at school. Weather is a force we have very little control over, so it's almost the worst villain a book can have!

Anne Stenhouse said...

Hi Victoria, You have used weather a lot, but all to good effect. It is a fact of life that persistent bad weather affects our mood. anne stenhouse

Anne Stenhouse said...

Judith, Sorry, where did I get Victoria? Anne