There is just something about the weather in fiction.
It sets the mood for the readers, it alters the mood of characters or sometimes it changes according to the character’s mood.
Strange thing the weather in books. It never fails to rain when character is sad, or the moon is just right when she is in love. The sun shines bright when she is happy, and it snows profusely when one of her love ones dies.
Of course, he could dance in the rain, feel lonely in a sunny afternoon and dive into a snowbank to make snow angels. Sometimes the weather fits her mood and sometime he says to hell with it and ignores it completely.
This is no accident. While we can not control real weather, we do react to it. So when a writer wants to clue their reader about the current mood of a given scene, playing up the weather is a an easy choice. There different ways a writer can do this:
- Thunder God: The environment is always in sync with the characters weather. Light or shade, rain or shine, it reflects how he feels at any given moment. Common in romances. Of course the character could very well control the weather in some way, which means that this is supernatural in some way. But most of the time it simply serves to dramatize the character’s current mood.
- The weather, the weather never changes: The environment is preset on whatever setting the story requires, throughout. It is always night, or raining or snowing. Common in film noir, comic books, science fiction and disaster movies. At some level these stories pit the characters against the environment, whether is the corruption sweeping the dank city streets or the oppressive desert sun in midday.
- Seasonal depression: The seasons change, and so does the character’s mood. Happens to a lot of people in real life, especially around the winter holidays.
- God has a funny sense of humor: The weather serves as a plot device, either in comedic sense, causing the character all kinds of grief or like in #2, it serves as a challenge for the character to overcome. In comedies, the character accepts that he can not change the weather, in survival stories the characters endure in spite of it.
- It got nothing to do with it: The weather is portrayed independently from the character’s mood an actions. Sometime it affects her emotional reaction, but most of the time it simply marks the passage of time or serves as footnote to the scene’s events.
Most stories have a mixture of one or more of these.
So when was the last time you used weather to set the mood?