Monday, January 26, 2015

Remember the Weather

Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in writing a novel, I almost forget what season it's in, or what the weather's supposed to be like. Somewhere along the way, my plot reminds me to figure that out. If I haven't included a locale, that's a necessity. Weather is not the same everywhere.

Today, every radio and television broadcast warns that the Northeast portion of the United States is bracing for a humongous snowstorm, which could dump 2-3 feet of snow that way. Fortunately, here in Illinois, we're only expecting about one inch of snow.

Weather can and should play a role in our novels. Characters live in a world, which in many ways is governed by weather and seasons. That's not to say weather completely controls humans, but it can play a huge part in their behavior and day-to-day activities.

For some reason, fuses are shorter in the hot months, and more fights and murders occur. I'm not sure why tempers flare then, but suspect it may be a physiological phenomenon. Even if that weren't so, keep in mind it's easier to get around and do nefarious things when there's no snow, ice, or cold blocking the way.

Of course, cold, snowy winters also have their advantages. Nefarious happenings can go unnoticed when no one else is around. People like to hunker down in their homes then and not venture out unless necessary, or if attacked by a case of cabin fever. Also, snowbanks can be handy spots to hide bodies, not to be discovered until after a thaw.

In my romantic suspense, Killer Career, a snowstorm brings the heroine and hero closer together romantically, after they work in tandem to clear her driveway. The weather also furthers the mystery plot. When the neighbor comes over to ask if they've seen her dog, they search the lady's yard, and at first are hindered because snow has obliterated the paw prints.

In my sweet romance, Christmas Carol, a snowstorm brings about a chance meeting between a waitress and a big-time author in a small town.

What other examples can you think of where weather plays a role in a novel?

Morgan Mandel writes mysteries, thrillers and romances. You can find her at:

Amazon Author Page:

Twitter: @MorganMandel



Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Good advice that I often give new writers.Weather can affect situations and add mood.

Morgan Mandel said...

Thanks, Marilyn. I do know I'm not as happy in the winter because weather is an obstacle, and I can't get out and about as much. I enjoy walking my dog, and when there's snow and ice, I stay inside instead!

Jean Henry Mead said...

Good post, Morgan. Weather plays a role in nearly all my novels: San Joaquin Valley fog, Wyoming snow and tornadoes, Texas rain, etc. Weather can also play an antagonist's role (Man/woman against the elements).

Morgan Mandel said...

Great examples, Jean!

Nik Morton said...

I agree, and mention it in my writing guide. Weather can almost become a character.

Marja said...

I have to admit, I love a story that has a dark and stormy night. Somehow it just seems to make the story more suspenseful. Yes, weather can play a big role in books. Excellent post!
Marja McGraw

Morgan Mandel said...

Nik, yes, weather can almost become a character, and sometimes a very unpleasant one!

Morgan Mandel said...

Marja, Yes, lots of bad things can happen on dark and stormy nights. However, what's even scarier are bad things that happen on bright, sunny days, when you least expect it!