Monday, April 22, 2013

Using Bad Weather to Your Advantage

One thing I've learned is that the weather is unpredictable. I've often heard people say they'd like to be weathermen, because a weatherman does not have to be right all the time.

Do people have any power over the weather? Those who believe in global warming insist we do, although no one knows for sure.

What we do know as authors is that, with a bit of care, we can use bad weather to our advantage. We can do this with actual or fictional occurrences. On March 13, a wintery storm hit Arizona, with snow, hail, rain covering the state. On April 20, California got hit with snow, wind and rain.

Some areas in Illinois, such as DesPlaines, are still trying to recover from a heavy rainfall on Wednesday, April 18, and more rain is predicted beginning tonight.

Freak weather can produce strange happenings. If you look to the right in this picture taken April 19, you might discern two ducks swimming in a makeshift weather related pool in a parking lot across from Golf Mill in Niles, Illinois. They knew how to take advantage of the situation. We can, too!

Some ways to use bad weather:
1. Bad weather conditions can impede victims in their efforts to evade an enemy. Snowstorms, rainstorms, windstorms are all impediments when trying to escape.
2. The same kind of conditions can delay rescuers attempting to reach victims.
3. Inclement weather might tempt a character take a trip for relief. Anything can happen on the way to or from. If the destination is an unfamiliar place, even more havoc can ensue when venturing into an unexpectedly dangerous area.
4. Then there's the tried and true scenario of being stuck in a cabin in a snowstorm. This one is used often in mysteries and romances.
5. Communication methods, such as landlines, cells, Internet, even power, can be wiped out by bad weather.  Without communication, victims may not be aware of bad guys in the area. And, if they do have such knowledge, they may not be able to transmit it to other victims or rescuers.

These are just some ways bad weather can be used to advantage in mysteries and other genres. Maybe you can think of others. I invite you to mention one, either real or fictional, in your own book, or one you've read.

Find excerpts and links to all of Morgan Mandel's books at

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