There are so many aspects to consider when writing a book, today I’m going to tackle an area that doesn’t often get much attention—weather. If a book is set in a place with year-round sunshine, or during a season with a comfortable temperature then it may never come into play. And that’s okay. No need to complicate something when there’s no reason for it. However, sometimes weather cannot be overlooked. It can have a direct or indirect affect on the story. Let’s look at some ways that weather can become a factor.
1. Increased Danger.
Weather can up the stakes or heighten the tension in a story if it provides imminent danger. For example, the threat of an impending hurricane, or a tornado can force the story or its characters to move quickly and quicken the pace of what might otherwise be a slow-moving plot.
2. A Closed Set.
Sometimes weather can have a direct effect on the setting of a story. If an author wants to have a isolated location, where characters cannot easily come and go, weather is one method to provide it. For example, a Nor’easter in Maine may prevent characters from coming and going to a place that might normally have fluid movement. It can be a great way to limit the number of people who are involved in the story, or give an automatic set of suspects.
3. Time of death.
When a body is discovered, time of death can be a critical piece of information. This is especially true when the cause of death is murder. If a body is discovered outside, temperature is a key factor that comes into play when calculating time of death. If it’s cold enough outside, the accuracy of pinpointing it is much more difficult to determine, often leaving a big range of time that can be frustrating for investigators who are unable to narrow the parameters within a day or more.
There are so many elements of a story, setting is important. Weather can provide a fun way to change it up and completely alter the pace, the surroundings, and the complications your characters must face.
Lynn McPherson has worked for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, ran a small business, and taught English across the globe. She has travelled the world solo where her daring spirit has led her to jump out of airplanes, dive with sharks, and learn she would never master a surfboard. She now channels her lifelong love of adventure and history into her writing, where she is free to go anywhere, anytime. Her cozy series has three books out: The Girls' Weekend Murder and The Girls Whispered Murder, and The Girls Dressed For Murder.