Weather--It's What Stories Are Really All About

Weather—It’s What Stories Are Really All About

Today, I’m guest posting over on The Writer’s Alley, with the post  “Weather–It’s What Stories Are Really All About.” Here’s an excerpt:

Jane Eyre: The Writer's Digest Annotated ClassicWhen I think of weather in stories, I inevitably think of the Peanuts comic strip with Snoopy chugging along at his typewriter, wringing out his famous opening line, “It was a dark and stormy night.”

As you probably know, good ol’ Snoopers outright stole that line from Edward Bulwer-Lytton, after whom the infamous “worst opening lines ever” literary contest was named. And that, of course, leads authors everywhere to wonder if maybe, after all, we’d be better off just leaving the weather out of our stories.

But not so fast. Weather is a tremendously powerful and versatile tool. Want to know what a story is really about? Look no farther than the most obvious subtext of all: the weather. Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (which I analyze in-depth in my book Jane Eyre: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics) offers some excellent examples of how to use weather in a myriad of ways—without stooping to poor Snoopy’s level.

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Weather: What Stories Are Really About

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

Comments

  1. My lead editor is often critical of my use of the weather. I use it to describe the atmosphere of the story. As the novel progresses, the weather also changes, always adding conflict for the characters. Not always in a major way, but sometimes just settle things like those extra long coffee lines during rainy days when my character is already running late. My editor told me straight up: “No one cares about the weather except for a meteorologist.” I don’t agree. I think of one of my all-time favorite ghost stories, “The Woman in Black” by Susan Hill is an excellent example of strong writing through atmosphere and weather. Great post, Weiland!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      In all honesty, when someone says “no one cares,” it usually just means “they don’t care.” :p

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