Weather…Or Not?

The extent to whether or not weather should influence a plot line, or impact a character’s actions, is a writing line of thought I’m currently pondering right now on my “writer’s road…” And why? Could it be my thoughts about how important setting is are still nagging at me?  Indeed, climate, which consequently influences what the characters and readers see. But how about what our characters do?

My personal example from my current WIP is—does Leiv proceed forward in the 100◦ weather he’s experiencing, or does he demand Glover take him back to Shiné, and not meet the Packston sisters? Does he instead (as I’m writing it), hurry into the house, and consequently really appreciates the ice tea being served and think. “Thank goodness,and what a nice lady for seeing how flinging hot I am…” Indeed, and this may sound nitpicky, but I’ve found myself fussing at a book I was reading that the character should have been motivated in a completely different direction by the weather! In my defense, I really want a reader to enjoy the story in a way that brings pleasure to them.

Having lived in both Washington States’overcast and rainy Puget Sound, and California’s moderate bay area: and having been born and raised in cold windy Chicago, and now living in and loving the sometimes blazing Mojave, I do accept for myself, “yes,” maybe I would have done some things differently if I’d paid attention to the weather. Hmm…

Bottom line on my current WIP from my meandering weather thoughts is, Leiv is going to do a completely different action than I first wrote (months ago.) And, his weather related changes will also change the ending. But I think for sure, his character is stronger and more admirable for the weather directed action he takes early on.

My thoughts have further led me to thinking back on my earlier books self-critique—such as my Pacific Northwest setting and California’s Ridgecrest area, and now out here in the Mojave…makes me think I personally need to enhance the aspect of Mojave weather affecting my heroes and villains on more levels and in more ways than before. And my queens of murder mystery(Ngaio, Agatha, etc.–who are always in my mind) don’t make a big deal about weather…or do they? I need to take a rereading deep dive(smile), or binge on DVDs and Brit Box! Research(smile)

All thoughts are welcome.

Also, this post is sooo short because it’s still hot, IN OCTOBER, and zapping my energy, ha, ha….

Happy Writing Trails

17 thoughts on “Weather…Or Not?”

  1. I admit I think about the weather now more than I did. A class on settings showed me my deficiencies. 🙂 Your books always nail setting. Including the influences of weather will only make them better. (And now I’m going to rewrite the beginning of a scene where I mention the month but don’t say anything about the temperatures, which might affect my character’s decision. Thanks for the idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jackie, for the affirmation that weather effects can change a story. I’m still thinking about Leiv and weather…


  2. You certainly got me thinking and I realize I barely pay attention to the weather. Probably because in southern California where I set my mysteries it is always beautiful although there are rare rain days. I think Liev should pull up his socks and be a man. He needs to show some spunk instead of crawling back home. 100 degrees? That’s nothing these days when it can get to 120 in some areas these days.
    Thank you for jogging my mind!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with you, Mad. Weather does have an effect on nearly everything, therefore should effect our characters. It not only brings a dimension to setting, but character as well. It’s part of the environment and can bring out a reaction – both external and internal – to us. Weather can help describe the “where” and work as a metaphor for the “who”.

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  4. That gets one thinking, Mad. I agree with Jill that Liev should “pull his socks up”…. because his dealing with 100 degree weather shows how tough a guy he is – or not. Although I don’t think it should be mentioned constantly, weather really does add a whole different aspect to a story and how our characters deal with it. Weather elements can really transport the reader into another world and time…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Liev definitely has some pulling up his socks to do! And transporting the reader into another world is exactly what I want to do!


  5. Ah, weather! Think of it as a character as well as part of the setting. Does it influence the other characters in the story? If so, write what impact it has on the plot and everybody else in the book. A hurricane will change the storyline dramatically, but a light rain calls for an umbrella tossed aside when the character starts to speak. Ray Bradbury wrote the short story The Long Rain with an opening that will have you dripping wet by the time you finish it, but it set the scene like nobody’s business. Write what fits your story. You always set a masterful scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post, even if it’s short. Sometimes it needs to be short.
    I feel for Liev. 90 degree weather wilts me and starts me sweating. I stay where it’s cool in 100 degrees — but then I’m not a man and not living on the Mojave Desert, and definitely not involved in murder and mayhem. Write how you see it Madeline and we will love it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m still undecided, Jackie, if 30 degrees and a Lake Michigan wind or 109 degrees and a Mojave sun are best(smile) I do know, that though absolutely beautiful, the overcast days in North Bend WA and even with mild temperatures turned out to be the least desirable weather wise.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hot weather seems to become the norm here in Southern California. We have gone through waves of two weeks of 100 degree temperatures in a row. I think that writers and readers will adjust to it and hardly think it worth to mention. On the other hand, if wild fires and/or power outages are involved, that would change the direction of the story.
    Mad, as to what your character Leiv should do, he is your creation and you know best.


    1. Yes, Alice, agree how dramatic the weather condition is an important consideration to it’s importance as a motivator. Thanks for stopping by, you’ve gotten me thinking even deeper…


  8. It’s been a while since I read an Anne Perry story, but it’s always raining and the rain runs down the characters’ necks and into their clothes. Seems like Londoners should know how to dress for rain! For five years I lived in Lake Elizabeth and well know the heat of the Antelope Valley and Mojave. Some people love the high temps (I’m not one of them), so Liev could be one of them—without even pulling up his socks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m smiling, Maggie, because I’ve had similar thoughts about characters who should have been prepared and dressed for the weather in a place they should be used to. Which brings to mind a good thought about about Leiv, in that he’s been in the Mojave for three years…but he did spend all his life in Illinois??—hmmn—got me thinking further–thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. In my early writing days in pre-airconditioning Alabama and Texas the weather had DEFINITE significant effects on plot, contributing to sogged manuscripts, aborted writing sessions, and interpersonal relations with significant others! Oddly, little note of those effects reached the creative output. Too painful to pass on.


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