By Chester Campbell
There's a thunderstorm booming away outside as I write this. My wife says I need to get off the computer, that a woman was hit by lightning while on her computer when her house was struck. I figure the odds are pretty long on that happening again. But the weather can do some decidedly dramatic things.
I've read some writers say you shouldn't talk about the weather in your book unless it's a central theme of the story. I respectfully disagree. I frequently describe clouds or wind or rain or snow as part of setting the scene. The recent heat wave has everyone thinking about the weather. To leave it out of our stories would be like avoiding smells and colors and other things that round out the description of what's going on about the characters.
I agree that giving elaborate details on the weather in a routine manner is unnecessary and a bit of overkill. But when a scene is outdoors, especially, a brief comment on atmospheric conditionns gives the reader a better feeling for what the characters are experiencing.
The thunderstorm is gone as I finish this, and obviously I didn't get struck by lightning in the process. My wife is more fearful of the weather's vagaries. I was in a tornado when I was seven, and I've slogged through just about any kind of muck you can imagine over the years. I remember when my four kids were small experiencing a violent thunderstorm, with searing streaks of lightning hitting all around us, as we watched from a small cabin in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Everyone enjoyed the spectacle.
I say bring on the weather in our books. It adds an exciting dimension to the story.