Weather Thesaurus Entry: Vortex

WEATHER and Phenomenon are important elements in any setting, providing sensory texture and contributing to the mood the writer wishes to create in a scene. With a deft touch, weather can enhance the character’s emotional response to a specific location, it can add conflict, and it can also (lightly) foreshadow coming events.

However, caution must accompany this entry: the weather should not be used as a window into a character’s soul. The weather can add invisible pressure for the character, it can layer the SCENE with symbolism, it can carefully hint at the internal landscape, but it must never OVERTLY TELL emotion. Such a heavy-handed approach results in weather cliches and melodrama (a storm raging above a bloody battle, a broken-hearted girl crying in the rain).


Sight: Vortex energy is an unseen force but can be accompanied by wind in high, open locations. Debris (dust, dirt, etc) may stir up the air and anchored grass or weeds at the site may quiver by the force of moving air…

Smell: N/A

Taste: N/A

Touch: Most people describe a feeling of spinning both around them and inside them when standing in a vortex. Hair may lift on the arms and back of the neck, dizziness is common and some experience a sense of vibration or euphoria paired with…

Sound: Natural, location-specific noise may appear amplified within a vortex location, sounding clearer and sharper. The sound of rushing wind can have a…


Mood: The presence of a vortex within the setting can allude to the supernatural and the impossible. Characters may be open to experiencing something that is both complex and unknown or they may be closed to it, swarming with negativity and fear. Either way, tension is…

Symbolism: Intuition, Mother Nature; Mystery…

Possible Cliches: Vortices as portals to either Hell or an alternative universe…

OTHER: Vortices are found all over the world where concentration points of earth energy has electric, magnetic or electromagnetic qualities. Two of the most notable locations are the Great Pyramids in Egypt and Stonehenge in England. It is said that a Vortex power center increases the body’s vibration, amplifying a person’s own positive or negative energy (whichever is prevalent). People come to these places for spiritual clarity and healing or personal and spiritual growth. Visiting these sites almost always leaves a person with a sense of wonder and renewed energy…

Don’t be afraid to use the weather to add contrast. Unusual pairings, especially when drawing attention to the Character’s emotions, is a powerful trigger for tension. Consider how the bleak mood of a character is even more noticeable as morning sunlight dances across the crystals of fresh snow on the walk to work. Or how the feeling of betrayal is so much more poignant on a hot summer day. Likewise, success or joy can be hampered by a cutting wind or drizzling sleet, foreshadowing conflict to come.

Weather is a powerful tool, helping to foreshadow events and steer the emotional mood of any scene.

Need more detail regarding this weather element? Good news! This thesaurus has been integrated into our new online library at One Stop For Writers. There, not only has the information in each entry been enhanced and expanded, we’ve also added scenarios for adding conflict and tension. The entire thesaurus is also cross-referenced with our many other descriptive collections for easy searchability. Registration is free, so if you’re interested in seeing a sampling of the fully updated Weather and Earthly Phenomenon Thesaurus, head on over to One Stop.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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23 Responses to Weather Thesaurus Entry: Vortex

  1. Pingback: Weather Thesaurus Entries Collection | Writers Helping Writers

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, I must be honest, I loathe pseudoscience, but as part of a fantasy setting or just something that happens in a character’s head it would be interesting.

  3. Leslie Rose says:

    BTW Angela, have you heard of the LOTR concert that is touring? They show the movie on a giganto screen and a live orchestra plays the score. Not sure where it is touring to, but I see from your blog info that you are a LOTR fan.

  4. Leslie Rose says:

    Now I want to go stand in a vortex. I have always blamed bad golf shots on the illusive vortex.

  5. Love the tree picture after a vortex. You wouldn’t want to be climbing it at the time ay?

  6. Your blog is very interesting with wonderful photograph. I really impress to watch and read, also plan to visit that place once in life. I sure to share my tour experience in my personal blog.

  7. Hi Mary! I thought I had it right as the plural for vortex being vortexes so I had a look. Merriam Webster states it’s both Vortices and Vortexes. But, because Vortices came first I’m guessing it’s the most common form, so I changed it. 🙂

    Thanks again everyone for the comments! I’m glad to hear a few of you can use this info in your current manuscripts!

  8. What a cool one! I’m curious about these vortices. Good inspiration.

  9. Ooh la la u guys changed thye look again. I think I like this one the best!

  10. Shilpa says:

    Very useful. Thanks!

  11. Mirka Breen says:

    Reminds me of Sid Fleischman’s point to ‘give a weather report.’ You fleshed it out!
    Good post. Thank you.

  12. Whoa! That’s so cool, Angela! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  13. Mary Witzl says:

    What’s the plural of ‘vortex’? ‘Vortices?’

    Love, love, love that ‘Finding Nemo’ photo!

  14. Kristen says:

    I think I read something about one of these in AZ recently.
    Really cool.

  15. Marcia says:

    Nice new look! Thanks for these. 🙂

  16. Did your post column get wider?

  17. Woot, glad you guys like this one. I love strange and unusual phenomenon. 🙂


  18. I need this for an upcoming book.

  19. We have a vortex area nearby and they have a tourist attraction there called the House of Mystery. It’s SO COOL! 🙂

  20. Karen Lange says:

    This is interesting. Appreciate the info and food for thought. Need to give my WIP some more thought along these lines.

    Love the new look! 🙂

  21. What an awesome choice, Ange. I’d never heard of a vortex before. So interesting!

  22. that would be so cool to experience one! Great job. Thanks!

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