How’s the Weather? (writing tip)

By | November 10, 2008

Here’s a great tip from Sid Fleischman:

Give weather reports. It helps the reality of a scene if foghorns are blowing or kites are in the sky on a windy afternoon or the day’s so hot wallpaper is peeling off the walls.

(Sid is a great author, winner of the 1987 Newbery Medal for The Whipping Boy. This comes from a page of tips on his website, a page called “9 Tips for Writing Stories.”)

Why mention the weather? Boring?

Well . . . maybe you can do it in a fun, not-so-ordinary way, like the wallpaper peeling from the heat.

But most of all, it helps your reader get into your story. We can imagine . . . a fresh April day with little flowers just peeking out from the warm dirt . . . or a blustery November day with dry leaves skittling across the sidewalk.

Hey, that’s better than just any old day.

And maybe you can add an extra detail. Is that sidewalk cracked?
What does a spring day smell like?

As an Italian author once said, even in fantasy lands (like Narnia), it rains (or snows). If your characters need an umbrella or a heavy coat or lots of sunscreen . . . it helps us imagine that your story is real.

And that’s a good boost – to make your story just a little better!

One thought on “How’s the Weather? (writing tip)

  1. Chris

    One thing about mentioning weather, it could be used effectively in a conversation between two strangers. It works as an icebreaker when you don’t know the person you’re speaking with and want to start a conversation. Could then work to convene the uneasiness of a meeting between strangers.

    Reply

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