Sunday, January 27, 2013

Talking About the Weather

Besides being safe elevator conversation, describing the weather in your novel can serve as simultaneous word-padding and plot details. Why is that character in your international thriller novel wearing a heavy coat in July, or why would one of your secondary characters risk a trip through a hurricane?

Describing weather just for the sake of padding your word count can cost your readers. The audience realizes quickly (usually in a few sentences) that they're reading fluff, even if that fluff is disguised as the ice storm of the century or a description of a hot, dry, day with cracked asphalt on Main Street.

If you use descriptions of weather as plot points, it will have the advantage of drawing your audience deeper into the setting and dropping hints about upcoming plot turns in seemingly a innocuous explanation of the different accumulations of snow in various parts of the city.

Here's a book-end writing prompt. I'll give the beginning and the end... you write the middle. Include as much weather description as possible, but only if you can make a connection to the plot.

Bookend Prompt Beginning: He'd always known that snow shoes were clumsy, but he'd never considered them dangerous before...

Bookend Prompt End: He put his feet up, glad to be rid of the cumbersome snow shoes, even if they'd just saved his life.

Have fun, and keep writing!

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