I am a writer, the god of my fictional universe, dangling my characters, both major and minor, from my fingertips like little marionettes made of nouns and adjectives and prepositional phrases.
That flat tire that made you late for that crucial job interview, thus causing you to miss out on that job and thereby forcing you to take that shady job from that shadier businessman? My fault.
Dangling by your fingertips from the edge of a building, while burly gun-toting bad guys search for you on the rooftop? My fault. Oh, and look, those bricks you’re gripping so tightly are about to crumble.
I put my characters in a lot of dicey situations. But I also give them cool jobs, cool friends, frequent trips to Starbucks. Things that I would like to have.
And I always seem to give them pleasant weather.
This occurred to me while I was working on the first draft of my second book. I realized that I hadn’t described the weather, other than noting that it was hot. But was it overcast? Sunny? Was there an empty stomach rumbling coming from the clouds? Were there clouds?
Manipulating the weather in my stories is something I have never done, and I’m not sure why. I have a problem with describing scenes; I see them so vividly in my head, I forget that readers can’t. I don’t take the time to add them to the pages. Sometimes I do in the revisions, but not always. It’s a weakness, a deficiency. One I need to work on.
I’m writing a new scene this week. I think I’ll make it rain.
Weather–good or bad–can be a crucial plot point in your novel or story. It can, in a way, almost be a character. Thinking of A Perfect Storm here. In Cujo, a heat wave impacted Donna and Thad Trenton as they were trapped in their Pinto. It caused Thad to have a seizure, which increased Donna’s desperation to get them out of that car and away from the St. Bernard.
I don’t have any plans to make the weather critical in my book. But I will make it rain.