Cold Winds Blow

 They (the mysterious “they” who is always telling you what you should or shouldn’t do) say you shouldn’t write about the weather. I’m ignoring that advice. Weather impacts our moods in real life. A warm, sunny Spring day brings smiles to our faces. A cold, gray, wet winter’s day induces groans and sadness. The heavy, humid air just before a thunderstorm makes us tense and uneasy. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a clinical condition where cold, dark weather brings on depression often severe enough to warrant treatment. And weather certainly presents obstacles we must overcome. Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, high winds, hail, snow—all as potentially dangerous as an armed intruder or an angry ex. Weather can, and should, act in fiction they same way it acts in real life. “It’s a dark and stormy night” may not be the world’s best opening sentence but weather can be used to significant effect in stories. Weather can set tone, provide foreshadowing, or reflect characters’ moods. “The Fall of the House of Usher” wouldn’t read the same if set on a warm and sunny day. Charlotte Bronte uses weather to foreshadow Jane Eyre’s experiences and as a metaphor for her moods and emotions. Weather can also be a character. From torrential rains to blizzards to tornadoes, weather events play the role of antagonist in “man versus nature” stories. Make a bad situation—being chased by a man with a gun—worse for the protagonist by adding some weather—being chased by a man with a gun in fog as thick as cotton batting. What’s your favorite literary weather disaster? What kind of weather event would you throw in your protagonist’s path? Comment here or blow on over to Facebook to join the discussion. 

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