WriteSpa #21 – Writing about Weather

WriteSpa – An Oasis for Writers

When I moved to England at age eleven I remember being amused by the amount of conversation people spent discussing the weather. The reason was that it hardly ever seemed to change. The weather was pretty much misty and drizzly and sometimes it might rain harder, other times it might be so damp it just felt like rain … I think in the seven years I lived there, I saw a cloudless sky perhaps twice. And yet every rain seemed different. That difference was in myself, not in the weather.

I tend to love rainy days. They instill in me a feeling of coziness, of stories, of Sussex. Firesides. Long walks through the forest, discovering wildlife, the gentle patter on leaves. Bluebells by the brook. Yellow raincoats and Wellington boots.

When you’re writing a description, you’re trying to evoke a mood around whatever it is you’re describing. Metaphors help, and so do adjectives. In this week’s writing practice, you’re going to use weather as the backdrop for the mood you’re trying to evoke.

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Fun Writing Practice

Describe a thunderstorm from the point of view of someone who is going mad (think King Lear!)

Do not describe the person, or going mad, and don’t use any personal pronouns.

Now describe the same thunderstorm from the point of view of someone who is on their way to meet their true love. Again, don’t talk about this person, or love, or include any action: just describe the thunderstorm so that it appears exciting, passionate, inspiring …

If you’d like to choose a different kind of weather, by all means do so. For instance, a blizzard can be described as terrifying or cozy depending on the mood you’re trying to evoke. Even a hot, still summer afternoon can seem sinister if done well; Raymond Chandler comes to mind.

A spring dawn can be bittersweet and nostalgic or filled with anticipation and delight, depending on whether the clouds are thickening and eclipsing the sunshine or they’re tinged with pink and gold. A breeze can be snapping or balmy. Stars can seem lonely or twinkling.

Have fun with this weather practice – you’ll find it helps in mastering a mood in your story or essay. You may also find it helps you master your own mood.

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Daily Happinesses

  • getting into a warm car on a cold night
  • realizing that less is more: clearing the clutter
  • heavy velvet curtains
  • the blueness of the sky against newly fallen snow
  • sweeping away the cobwebs

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