Pre-Winter Blasts and Blusters

 

We west coasters may be teased as wimps, but we’re accustomed to balmy rainforest-type conditions here. When temperatures take their first winter plunge we shiver and complain. This weekend blustery winds blew our first short lived snowfall into skiffs and drifts, and layered nearby mountains in a wardrobe of white. Most of the snow in town is gone now but our thermometer is on the way down to -7oC tonight (about 18oF).

Winter conditions play a big part in a recently revised manuscript where my protagonist escapes dangers in his city life to become the winter caretaker at a remote northern fishing lodge.  As I hunt for words to adequately describe the beauty of this first blast of winter it makes me wonder how effectively I described the fictitious northern winter in my story.

Does weather or climate play a significant role in your work-in-progress? Do you use detailed description or tuck in bits of relevant references to convey its effect on the story and characters?

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14 thoughts on “Pre-Winter Blasts and Blusters

  1. Judith Robl says:

    Weather is always a part of the atmosphere. Some people react to weather just like barometers, moods going up and down. That is motive power for some actions and reactions in fiction. It doesn’t need to hit you over the head, but in the short passage below from my novel in progress called Andrew’s Forge, you are given a hint of the weather.

    “Sarah and David had moved to the shade of the tree just beyond the door of the forge. He wondered what had them so engrossed. David was speaking animatedly, with broad gestures of hand and arm. Sarah watched him with rapt attention. Such a picture they made. Sarah’s clear round face framed by her blue bonnet and wisps of soft brown hair that refused to be captured was upturned toward her brother. His golden curls bounced with his every word and gesture. Dappled sunlight danced between the shadows of the leaves to the rhythm of a light breeze. Occasionally, Andrew wished he could stop time. This was one of those moments.”

  2. dave ebright says:

    Guess I’m gonna hafta put a sweater on when I blog-visit you n’ Joylene. A little more gray in those pics & it would look like a snow sky. I use weather descriptions frequently – part of life on or near the water.

    “…. adequately describe the beauty of this first blast of winter…”
    (Good luck with THAT. Brrrrrr.) I’ll stick to ducking from falling coconuts.

    BTW – Do y’all ski those mountains?

  3. Paul says:

    Weather and climate play pretty big roles in two of my WIPs. I try to use sensory details colored by the POV character’s take on the world and what mood they are in. And I try to have those details somehow be moving the story forward as well.

    And, nice photos!!

  4. Nice sense of a warm, summery day, Judith.

    Dave, you would definitely need a sweater up here right now. Your pirate shenanigans couldn’t exist without some marine-type weather effects.

    Nice to have you back online, Paul, although knowing you’re basking in Arizona and not tackling your usual Alaskan winter makes me a bit jealous. 😉 Good point about the details needing to move the story forward. Any description of weather that doesn’t have a purpose would be extraneous.

  5. christicorbett says:

    Carol,

    Since my WIP is about traveling the Oregon Trail, weather has a HUGE impact in my storyline. Every day the travelers discuss the temperature, wind, sun, and rainy conditions and how it will affect the day’s travels.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures!

    Christi Corbett
    http://christicorbett.wordpress.com

  6. joylene says:

    As you know, because of where I live winter is a big influence on my writing, my emotions, my mood, and my life. In my novels, because most of them take place in the north, weather is another character. It has an impact on the other characters in my book even if they don’t consciously realize it. I think winter can toughen you up or weaken your resolve. I love exploring both themes.

  7. Christi, when I think of how weather affects our summer camping trips I can understand it would certainly be a big consideration for characters traveling the Oregon Trail!

    I like how you describe weather as “another character”, Joylene. The northern lifestyle can depend heavily on adapting to the weather extremes.

  8. My manuscript takes place in a three-day period of time during summer. As it is now there are no scenes taking place in inclement weather. Perhaps I should change that. I’ll have to look at it to see whether bad weather would be beneficial. Thank you for putting the question in my mind. Blessings to you…

    • I don’t suppose only inclement weather is of significance in a story. It could be a summer breeze fluttering curtains at an open window that isn’t supposed to be open, or maybe the crunch of autumn leaves underfoot that give away a trespasser. Subtle hints that help put the reader into the scene.

  9. Laura Best says:

    At the moment weather isn’t an important part of my WIP, which probably seems strange now that I think of it. I tend to write outdoor scenes. Hmmm. Interesting.

    • Maybe the outdoor setting is already established and you just haven’t used it? As I mentioned to Carol Ann, I believe it only takes subtle references to help build a scene so that a reader can participate in it.

  10. Helena says:

    Hello Carol,
    A bit of a different message… yours is a beautiful photo that came up under the free pre-winter pics on internet. After I posted it as my facebook header, it linked me to your blog. I added your blog link in the description of the photo, but don’t want to be pirating anybody’s pictures. If you prefer that I delete it, I will. Cheers! Helena

    • Carol says:

      Thanks for checking with me, Helena. I’m flattered that you like the photo, although I can’t imagine how it would have ended up anywhere as “a free pre-winter pic”. The photo is copyrighted and used in one of my publications, so I really would prefer it not be used for your personal banner. I’ve only started putting the ‘copyright’ info on my photos — I hate messing them up with it, but I guess it’s more obvious than the statement here on my blog.

      • Helena says:

        Of course, I am deleting it. I know, it does sound strange, doesn’t it? I wanted a photo that is not a full-blown fall any more, but it is not yet a real winter either. So I decided on the word “pre-winter” and googled: “free pre-winter pic”. Then I clicked on the 3rd web on the newly displayed page that said “Pre-winter – Image Results”. The link, which came up, was: http://ca.images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=mcafee&sz=all&va=pre-winter .
        I was looking through the pics on the 1st page, arrived at the bottom of the page, and since I haven’t found anything I liked, I clicked on Show More Images (on the left bottom side of the screen). Then I scrolled through the new page all the way to the bottom, but again, there was nothing I liked. So I clicked on Show More Images again and kept on looking through the page, scrolling to the bottom again. And, voila, I found the picture I liked. It is your photo – see the 3rd row from the bottom of the page, the last pic on right side of the page.
        I, once in a while, look for a free picture. When they come up there is no description, nor does it say anything where it came from. I believed that this pic was free but wanted everybody to know that it was yours, therefore I typed in the description field underneath the photo in my Facebook account your blog address, and also decided to let you know.
        Phew – thank you for your patience, reading the above.
        All the best, Helena
        P.S. Your photographs are beautiful!

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