WEATHER is an important element 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: sun showers, longer days, trees and grasses greening up, flowers blooming, buttercups, daffodils, tulips, lilies, dormant plants pushing back up through the earth, buds and blossoms on trees, increased animal activity, baby animal sightings, effects from breezes, warm weather clothes, rivers rise and run swiftly from snowmelt…
Smell: the clean damp smell after it rains, newly turned dirt for gardens, floral scents
Taste: rain, Easter candy
Touch: the sun’s warmth on your skin, the fresh touch of the breeze as opposed to the frigid one you’ve felt all winter long, spongy or grainy feel of dirt in the garden, dirt clods falling on your feet as…
Sound: rushing water, rain falling, bare feet slapping the pavement, puddle-splashing, birds chirping, insects buzzing, kids-playing-outside sounds…
Mood: After so many months of cold weather and brown landscapes, spring brings a renewed sense of optimism. Spirits lift, people are more friendly and kind…
Symbolism: renewal, rebirth, beginnings…
Possible Cliches: spring chickens, April showers bring May flowers…
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.
Julie Musil says
What a gorgeous photo! And what an excellent entry on spring, my second favorite season! (summer is first <3)
Ugh… I’m CONSTANTLY having to remember to do this. I’ve exhausted my supply of sticky notes, colored marker signs and comment boxes trying to remind myself. For real. [sigh] Someday I’ll get it [fingers crossed!]
P.s. Love your followers box… “Esteemed Stalkers”… *snort* LOVE it!!
Becca Puglisi says
I know, it was totally rude for me to post this in the dead of winter, lol.
Another awesome post! I love the photo too.
What a beautiful Spring picture. You’ve really got us in the mood for Spring with this great post. Thanks!
The Golden Eagle says
Another interesting post. I especially love the different sounds you listed. 🙂
Diane Fordham says
Another great post. Thank you. The flooding rains of late have stirred emotions inside me from feeling hopeless, dread and fear to (as the flood waters subsided) relief and thanks. 🙂
Carrie Butler says
I can’t wait for spring! 🙂 Great post!
Shannon O'Donnell says
The smells and colors are my favorite things about Spring. LOVE that picture! 🙂
Good point about weather varying by region. It has to be hard to use weather without being too heavy handed about it. Thanks for your ever-helpful thesaurus.
Oh, my favorite time of year!! 🙂 Coming soon. I mean, it’s almost February, lol. Didn’t realize springs varies by region. Good to know. Thanks for the post!!
Angela Ackerman says
I love the smell of the earth as the snow thaws and it warms. And the green smell in the air as the first shoots poke out of the ground and grass begins to grow. 🙂
Oh Spring, can’t wait for you to get here!
Stina Lindenblatt says
I can’t wait for this. Last week’s freezing weather has made me long for the real spring. The one with pretty flowers like that. 😀
We have had a shockingly mild winter so far, but I am looking forward to it. I’d add in the chorus of spring peepers (or whatever the first frogs are that are local to your particular region) and toads. Mud tracking in everywhere. Swollen buds on trees, pale, pale green of the first leaves. Oh, hurry up and get here!