For today’s Twin Thursday with Rachel from Undivinelight, we’re looking at the use of weather and the natural world in your stories. As always, be sure to check hers out, too!

Weather and nature can bring a lot to your story: atmosphere; conflict; wonder. Below, I’m going to look at a few.

  1. Setting. Weather gives you a dynamic way to illustrate your world, which is especially important when you’re transporting the reader far away. Whether it’s the distant past or future or a world of your own imagining, describing the way the desert sun beats down or the glisten of winter sun on last night’s snowfall draws the reader in much more than just saying, “It was a sunny day.”
  2. Secondary conflict. Especially in a fantasy or historical setting, the natural world is fraught with dangers. A drought can devastate crops; a flood can ruin supply lines. The stress of dealing with these things can carry an otherwise-dry travelogue and put characters off their ease.
  3. Emotional atmosphere. Weather can affect the way your characters feel, either mirroring or contrasting their internal narrative. Now, it shouldn’t *always* be raining when the character is sad, and there shouldn’t *always* be a rainbow when they’re happy, but it can lift an okay scene up to a great one when used effectively.
  4. Verisimilitude. Changing weather or seasons gives your story a sense of being real. Even when it’s not doing anything to increase tension, drive the plot, or build character, it lets the world breathe. It makes your world feel more alive and not just a construction of ink or pixels.
  5. Antagonist. This is rare, but it can be beautiful if done well. Animal attacks, severe weather, and natural disasters fascinate us as humans. It’s one of the reasons that disaster movies like 2012 are so successful. Nature can be cruel, terrifying, unrelenting, all the things a good villain needs. Pit your heroes against it and watch the sparks fly, sometimes literally!
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