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The weather is one of the most underappreciated aspects of a story. Most readers will skim over it without a second thought. Yet, it has such an integral impact on their experience. A tool that embodies ‘You Don’t Know What You Have Until It’s Gone’. The weather is truly a hidden gem.
There is no right way to write a book. It depends on your strengths and weaknesses, but there are some ways to help improve your story. One of which is, utilizing the weather properly. It can serve as a vital instrument to enhance the plot or as a means to drive the story forward. An obstacle or a clue? The weather has numerous applications. Here are some that I have learnt.
When reading a book, the reader is hoping to be immersed in a story. It is the sense that they are not just reading words on a page—they are experiencing the story. It briefly takes them away from reality and pulls them into a new world.
There are many ways to do this, one of which is to engage some of the viewer’s five senses. Other mediums of entertainment have many ways of achieving this. For example, a movie in 4D can use a viewers sense of sight, sound and even smell.
Writing a book doesn’t have these advantages. Authors rely on engaging the reader’s imagination to pull them into their stories. To achieve this, a description of what’s going on around the characters is vital. This includes the weather. It sets the scene and helps build a clearer image for the reader’s imagination.
Creating a plot can be very difficult. Making sure your audience can follow the story is essential. Therefore, having an easy mechanism to lead to a location or as a clue of a certain event would be beneficial. The weather is relatable to most readers and can serve this purpose. For example, using snow/rain to leave trails leading to something. This could be a valuable tool when writing a mystery storyline.
Furthermore, the weather allows for events to take place that influences the plot. This includes allowing for chemical reactions to happen due to the presence of water. This can serve to add some depth and intrigue. If explained properly, the reader will feel they have learnt from reading your story.
The weather can be utilised to create situations that provide a believable motive and reasoning. A useable Deus ex machina. For example, a snowstorm making it difficult for someone to leave a town/building. This can be a versatile instrument that doesn’t break the immersion of the reader. It sets the scene for tense situations such as blockades, heatstroke and more. It forces these scenarios for the characters and can elevate your story.
A necessary pause. Taking a beat to describe the scene around a character. It is a great way to avoid overwhelming readers with exposition. It allows for a beautiful description of the world around the character. This can be a great way to prove your writing skills. To give the reader an enjoyable description that would improve their experience.
Much like in real life, the weather can set the mood. A dark, rainy night instinctively gives the reader the impression of an eerie atmosphere. A cold snowy morning puts the reader in a cosy mindset. The weather allows the reader to connect with the mood you are trying to set.
It shows the mindset of your characters. Good character development is essential for a story. The weather is a great way to reflect this. The progression of the weather throughout a story can be used to show how far a character has come. For example, a thunderstorm to show the chaotic, angry nature of character at the start. To the sun coming out at the end, to show this character’s growth to a mature, calm individual.
The power of the weather is something that is underestimated. Hopefully, this article helped bring light to some of its beneficial attributes. This doesn’t mean you should spend a long time focusing on describing the perfect weather. But I hope the next time you write or read a story, you’ll give it a bit more thought.
I hope you enjoyed this one. I had a lot of fun writing some of the elements of my story that I took time to think about.
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