One of the interesting things I've discovered since being a contributor to this blog, is how tied I am to the weather. Since this page has followers from the other side of the world, I have to remember that when I'm sweltering in a summer heat wave (like now!) some of you are bundling up in sweaters and scarves. Right now, I want to write about summer and about Canada Day (July 1) and how we celebrate with picnics and BBQ's
It's a truism that everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it. But as authors we can do something about the weather -- at least in our books. Writers from Shakespeare to Nora Roberts use the weather as a metaphor for mood and character. Blinded King Lear stumbles about in a storm, symbolic of the disaster that has overcome his life.
Roberts "Born in Fire" sets the mood on the opening page with "...winter racing in from the Atlantic like a hound from icy Hades."
And how many mysteries take place on "a dark and stormy night?"
There is no doubt, we writers love to use the weather in our stories. But my question is about the influence of the weather on our actual writing. When you sit down to the keyboard does it matter if there is a thunderstorm raging outside? Can you write of shipwreck on a calm and sunny day?
My writing room has a window and I find weather does impact my writing. When I begin a story in January, it is inevitably set against snowstorms and icy roads and sleeping gardens. When I start one in May, the story is full of apple blossoms and lilacs.
On hot and humid days, my pacing slows down. Not only do I have trouble dragging the words out of my brain, but my characters all want to go sit under a shade tree and drink lemonade instead of getting on and solving the mystery.
Autumn is my best writing time. Cool, crisp days energize me. My characters zip around getting into trouble in double-quick time. They show imagination and initiative. Unfortunately, my villain is apt to be too likable on a day when frost rimes the grass. I have to wait for a lowering sky before I do justice to the sneaky, selfish, and cunning creep.
So, what about you? Are you a slave to the elements? Is your story world entirely independent of your real world? If I study your opus would I know which books you began in winter and which ones were dreamt up over the summer? What tactics do you use to overcome the weather outside and focus on your story climate?
Now I'm off to work on the Christmas play for my church. Very hard to think sleigh bells and snowballs when the temperature is
24°C and the sky is a cloudless blue. :-) To learn more about me and my books, go to www.alicevaldal.com