Whether or not it matters

I’m going to give a quick shout out to something that affects us daily in one way or another. Something that can change the course of plans in a heartbeat. Emotions are tied to it directly and indirectly. It is something that is talked about so much that the news and special television stations dedicate time to it.  I may have touched on this before, but recently it was brought to my attention again. The ultimate setting maker or destroyer.  Everyone everywhere is affected buy it and it’s completely out of our control.

The weather. Whether or not I use it, whether or not it matters, is solely based on my remembering to include it.  I’m not talking about a full paragraph or two describing the shape, color, and texture of the cumulonimbus cloud or how the sun hits the sidewalk perfectly. I’m talking about basic behind the scenes acknowledgment for a simple scene. A casual injection of what the outside world is up to beyond that it is day or night, without dragging it out unnecessarily.  I can wax poetic on the sun and moon all I want, but they are not the weather, they are part of the setting for weather and a time of day indicator. Sure, I mention them.  So what? The sentence says it’s sunny. That doesn’t tell me if I need a bathing suit, sweater or full on arctic snow gear because sunny in February means your face will be hurting for sure. “It’s sunny and warm out” is boring. In fact, I’ve read some pretty lame “show” of the sun and rain etc. I’ve read some over the top super-flowery, oh-my-God-will-it-ever-end descriptions of the rain. It’s rain we all know that it falls from the sky and it’s wet. But how is it falling? How does it physically interact or effect?

Different weather can bring different interactions we all know how to look up alternate words for the specific weather to bring in the variations of artistic description. Here are some examples of showing the weather and the results of it in the environment.

Windy

Blowing hair
Something was taken from a hand by a gust
Things falling over like trees or signs
Something important blowing away
Leaves rustling or skittering across the ground
Skirt fluttering

The gust pushed her to the edge of the sidewalk, her shoe tipped and her ankle rolled. Falling to the ground she yelped in pain.

Snow

Flakes landing on lashes
Can’t see the car ahead for the whiteout
The crunch beneath the boot
The cool fresh smell The sparkle of the newly fallen flakes in the lamplight

The sounds of the night were muffled by the large tufts of white, floating gently to the earth.

Rain

Dripping down the face
Sticking the hair to the neck
Soaking the clothes
The patter against a window pain
Rinsing away the dirt on the street
Washing away the evidence

The umbrella did little to protect her as the wind pushed hard, soaked in seconds she trudged on.

Fog  A splendid setting for horror or suspense. But also romance if you want it to.

Reduced visibility
Subdued details
Cool damp micro droplets gathering on the hairs of one’s arm
The swirl in the mist as a car drove by

Jess walked slowly and listened for what she couldn’t see beyond two meters around her. The soft grey-white air smelled as damp as it felt on her skin.

Heat

Sweat, trickling, dripping, running, glistening etc.
Sticky clothes
Lethargy
Mirage
Bone dry
Cracking soil
Burning hot surface

Alice sat back on the porch. As wonderful as a new glass of iced lemonade would be, the effort to get it was too much. The meager shade provided no refuge as she waited for her brother to get home.

Cloudless sky aka sunny (Yeah I know)

Applies sunblock
Puts on a sun hat
Puts on sunglasses
Pulls down the visor of the car while driving
Shades eyes with hand as she opens the gate
Shadow play: The disappearing shadows of noon. The elongated evening shadows.

Kevin squinted as he looked up at the sign. He lifted his hand to shade his eyes and sighed heavily. “Four more blocks.”  

 When I’m writing weather into my story if it’s not a significant part of the chapter or story I will keep it just for setting embellishment. But if it can be melded into an important interaction…

 Sasha gingerly sidestepped the glittering puddle. She didn’t see the man approaching deep in conversation with his partner. He bumped Sasha’s arm teetering her off balance and directly into leftovers of last night’s storm.
“Seriously?” She jumped out of the water stomping her feet to shake off the dirty water.
The man turned long enough to mutter, “Sorry.” Before continuing on.
“Bad morning?”
Sasha looked up from examining her shoes to see Cal holding out a real cotton handkerchief. “It’s clean.”
“Thank you.” Before she could shift her briefcase to take it he squatted and patted her shoe dry than the other. “You didn’t have to do that.”
Cal stood and tucked the handkerchief into the inside pocket of his gray suit jacket. Tall dark, handsome hero in a well-fitted suit the color of armor. She nearly giggled at his sincere gesture.
“You have your hands full, I don’t.” He casually waved his hand at the café behind him. “Coffee?”
“Well, since mine was knocked from my hands earlier by a jerk kid on a skateboard and you were so medievally kind, the least I can do is buy you a cup Detective.”
“Hmm bad morning indeed.”
They walked the short distance to the Cozy café and he held the door open for her. The name did it justice, dark wood, and cushioned booths. The tables near the windows all taken so they found a booth.
“How were you carrying a coffee with all that?” He nodded toward the briefcase, laptop bag, lunch bag, and camera case she set down before taking off her jacket.
The warm café was a welcome reprieve.
“Way earlier and I didn’t have my hands full then. Surveying the area she sat across from Cal. “Cops.” She frowned.

“The station is just around the corner Sasha.”
“I know, I don’t usually come this way. I was…” She stopped explaining while the waitress filled the mugs already on the table.
“Anything else?”
“Just coffee thank you.” Sasha started putting sugar in hers with cream.
Cal agreed and eyed the camera case. “You stopped at the park to take pictures of rain on the leaves and flowers as the sun came up.”
Her mouth fell open. “I did.”
“Don’t look so surprised. Those old-fashioned gardens on a morning like this are bound to draw an artist. Though you’re not dressed for it.”
“Oh, I changed my shoes in the car. I left it by the park and thought the walk would improve my mood before I have to face… um, go to work.”
“Hmm.” Cal sipped his steaming black coffee

…  

Valery squinted at the early morning sun and tugged at her scarf. She unzipped her jacket as she got into her car. Sliding the key into the ignition, she started the engine immediately turning the heat off. She slipped her sunglasses into place thinking of bagels and hot coffee as she drove the short distance to work.

Chancing a sip of her coffee at a red light Valery watched the people cross. The cup paused halfway to her mouth. Setting it in the cup-holder, she stared open mouthed until the couple deep in conversation passed.
Sasha you little minx. What secrets have you been keeping from me?Valery’s chuckle startled herself. You didn’t even notice me. I sincerely need to know what you’re up to.
Smiling as the light turned green, her tires spun on the still wet road as she hit the gas. Going to work was less of a drag now. Why was Sasha walking to work with the handsome guy from the bar last week?

If I needed to make the weather more of a factor I would, but unless an epic journey is delayed by a snowstorm or two someone’s are trapped romantically by a sudden downpour I don’t punch my readers in the face with the weather. It’s there, it always is and should be, I just don’t think it has to rule every scenario if it’s not needed.

My advice about the weather and whether or not to use it.
Even if it’s not a key part of the plot/story mention it to set the scene, it’s as important as clothes. The reader might not need every single blow-your-brains-out detail but a little tidbit is enough to fill in the mental canvas adequately.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Doubt clouds out creativity

Tulips in July

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Gate

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Squirrelly concentration at best

Have you ever read a book and realize that you’ve been reading the same paragraph or sentence over and over and over again? It happens to me from time to time. That doesn’t mean that the story isn’t good, or the paragraph for that matter, it’s a symptom that I’m distracted or tired or I simply can’t concentrate.

Concentration is necessary, but so is distraction. I mean within my writing not outside of it. Distraction outside can be… distracting.  People get distracted, they fail to concentrate and it might not be a bad thing to toss into a characters day.

Some causes of distraction

Bad news
Good news
Shocking news
Too much work/work overload
Death/illness
Leaving something unfinished
Crush on someone
Falling in love
Falling out of love
A fight, physical or emotional
Injury or accident
Exhaustion
Embarrassment/Humiliation

Any situation that can’t be shaken for the sake of normal or expected day-to-day activities.

The loud smack of a palm flat on the desk startled Amber causing her to yelp.
“Amber.” Scott’s firm tone and narrowed eyes made her eyes widen. “I needed that proof half an hour ago and Wilson’s called you twice and you didn’t pick up.”
She blinked quickly and stood. “Sorry. I’ll get it now.”
“Don’t bother.” Scott glanced at Dale who was paying too close attention. “I got the proof myself. Wilson wants you in his office.” He leaned closer. “You’ve been a space case since lunch what happened?”
“Nothing, sorry. I must still be off from yesterday.” She ducked around Scott, shot Dale a ‘keep your mouth shut’ look and scurried off to Wilson’s office.
Scott stared at Dale who stared back. “Scott that editing won’t get done on it’s own man.”
“Yeah sorry.” Dale turned back to his screen.
“You okay?” Scott pressed his lips as Dale nodded and waved him away. He turned and went back toward his office mumbling. “Everyone’s gone mad around here.”

The bench across from Anne’s office edged a concrete path in her favorite park. The mature gardens splendid in their panoply of colours and textures. Anne sat on the bench and looked off to the distance; a slight smile curling her lips as she sighed. The unseasonably warm day smelled as if rain was coming. Anne’s thoughts turned inward. A pigeon crept up on her, flitted to the bench seat. She blinked lazily at the Sedum and Astor’s rustling in the gentle breeze. The skulking bird stretched its neck, grasped half her bagel right out of her hand and retreated to the middle of the path.

“Oh you dumb bird!” Anne uselessly kicked toward the pigeon with his prize. “Oh well, I bet you have a family to feed.” She watched the bird absently as it pecked away a large chunk of bread. Fat raindrops pelted the ground around the pigeon and she watched as it dragged and tried to fly with the carbs in beak.
She looked up suddenly when she realized she wasn’t getting hit by any mini water bombs.
“Were you just going to sit here and get soaked?” Tony smiled down at her his umbrella in hand shielding her from the rain.
“Oh! What a nice surprise.” She jumped up, grinned and threw her arms around his neck. “I was in la-la land and you valiantly saved me.”
“Yes.” He chuckled and returned the hug with one arm. “Those dastardly raindrops were up to no good.”
“Oh but they were, sneaking up on me while I let the pigeon steal my snack.”
“I saw.” Tony chuckled and then kissed her.

What was I writing about? Oh right, distraction and concentration. It can be minor or it can be major. People can make huge mistakes while distracted. Crash cars, Lose children, lock keys in the car, break something valuable, and let a secret slip or much worse. They can be funny or serious. My point is if there is a lot going on in someone’s life they might have a moment or two of distraction so I try to include them in a story if I can.

My advice about distraction.
Distraction is a good way to… oh, look a chubby adorable squirrel… Right my advice… what a fluffy critter with his bushy tail jumping up to… So I think if you write about distraction you need to… and now it’s destroying my bird-feeder. Yay! The little vermin jerk! Gnawing with its stupid sharp teeth, being all cute while… Oh yeah. People get distracted, it happens, so why not let a character get squirreled. I mean distracted occasionally?

-Sheryl

Other fun posts

 

People Watching

All that glitters…

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Panoply
Symptom

Whether or not it matters

Let’s give a quick shout out to something that affects us daily in one way or another. Something that can change the course of plans in a heartbeat. Emotions are tied to it directly and indirectly. It is something that is talked about so much that the news and special television stations dedicate time to it.  I may have touched on this before, but recently it was brought to my attention again. The ultimate setting maker or destroyer.  Everyone everywhere is affected buy it and it’s completely out of our control.

The weather. Whether or not I use it, whether or not it matters, is solely based on my remembering to include it.  I’m not talking about a full paragraph or two describing the shape, color, and texture of the cumulonimbus cloud, or how the sun hits the sidewalk perfectly. I’m talking about basic behind the scenes acknowledgment for a simple scene. A casual injection of what the outside world is up to beyond that it is day or night, without dragging it out unnecessarily.  I can wax poetic on the sun and moon all I want, but they are not the weather, they are part of the setting for weather and a time of day indicator. Sure, I mention them.  So what? The sentence says it’s sunny. That doesn’t tell me if I need a bathing suit, sweater or full on arctic snow gear because sunny in February means your face will be hurting for sure. “It’s sunny and warm out” is boring. In fact I’ve read some pretty lame “show” of the sun and rain etc. I’ve read some over the top super-flowery, oh-my-God-will-it-ever-end descriptions of the rain. It’s rain we all know that it falls from the sky and it’s wet. But how is it falling? How does it physically interact or effect?

Different weather can bring different interactions we all know how to look up alternate words for the specific weather to bring in the variations of artistic description. Here are some examples of showing the weather and the results of it in the environment.

Windy

Blowing hair
Something was taken from a hand by a gust
Things falling over like trees or signs
Something important blowing away
Leaves rustling or skittering across the ground
Skirt fluttering

The gust pushed her to the edge of the sidewalk, her shoe tipped and her ankle rolled. Falling to the ground she yelped in pain.

Snow

Flakes landing on lashes
Can’t see the car ahead for the whiteout
The crunch beneath the boot
The cool fresh smell The sparkle of the newly fallen flakes in the lamplight

The sounds of the night were muffled by the large tufts of white, floating gently to the earth.

Rain

Dripping down the face
Sticking the hair to the neck
Soaking the clothes
The patter against a window pain
Rinsing away the dirt on the street
Washing away the evidence

The umbrella did little to protect her, as the wind pushed hard. She was soaked in seconds she trudged on.

Fog  A splendid setting for horror or suspense. But also romance if you want it to.

Reduced visibility
Subdued details
Cool damp micro droplets gathering on the hairs of one’s arm
The swirl in the mist as a car drove by

Jess walked slowly and listened for what she couldn’t see beyond two meters around her. The soft grey-white air smelled as damp as it felt on her skin.

Heat

Sweat, trickling, dripping, running, glistening etc.
Sticky clothes
Lethargy
Mirage
Bone dry
Cracking soil
Burning hot surface

Alice sat back on the porch. As wonderful as a new glass of iced lemonade would be, the effort to get it was too much. The meager shade provided no refuge as she waited for her brother to get home.

Cloudless sky aka sunny (Yeah I know)

Applies sunblock
Puts on a sun hat
Puts on sunglasses
Pulls down the visor of the car while driving
Shades eyes with hand
Shadow play: The disappearing shadows of noon. The elongated evening shadows.

Kevin squinted as he looked up at the sign. He lifted his hand to shade his eyes and sighed heavily. “Four more blocks.”  

 When I’m writing weather into my story if it’s not a significant part of the chapter or story I will keep it just for setting embellishment. But if it can be melded into an important interaction…

 Sasha gingerly sidestepped the glittering puddle. She didn’t see the man approaching deep in conversation with his partner. He bumped Sasha’s arm teetering her off balance and directly into leftovers of last night’s storm.
“Seriously?” She jumped out of the water stomping her feet to shake off the dirty water.
The man turned long enough to mutter, “Sorry.” Before continuing on.
“Bad morning?”
Sasha looked up from examining her shoes to see Cal holding out a real cotton handkerchief. “It’s clean.”
“Thank you.” Before she could shift her briefcase to take it he squatted and patted her shoe dry than the other. “You didn’t have to do that.”
Cal stood and tucked the handkerchief into the inside pocket of his gray suit jacket. Tall dark, handsome hero in a well-fitted suit the color of armor. She nearly giggled at his sincere gesture.
“You have your hands full, I don’t.” He casually waved his hand at the café behind him. “Coffee?”
“Well, since mine was knocked from my hands earlier by a jerk kid on a skateboard and you were so medievally kind, the least I can do is buy you a cup Detective.”
“Hmm bad morning indeed.”
They walked the short distance to the Cozy café and he held the door open for her. The name did it justice, dark wood, and cushioned booths. The tables near the windows all taken so they found a booth.
“How were you carrying a coffee with all that?” He nodded toward the briefcase, laptop bag, lunch bag, and camera case she set down before taking off her jacket.
The warm café was a welcome reprieve.
“Way earlier and I didn’t have my hands full then. Surveying the area she sat across from Cal. “Cops.” She frowned.

“The station is just around the corner Sasha.”
“I know, I don’t usually come this way. I was…” She stopped explaining while the waitress filled the mugs already on the table.
“Anything else?”
“Just coffee thank you.” Sasha started putting sugar in hers with cream.
Cal agreed and eyed the camera case. “You stopped at the park to take pictures of rain on the leaves and flowers as the sun came up.”
Her mouth fell open. “I did.”
“Don’t look so surprised. Those old-fashioned gardens on a morning like this are bound to draw an artist. Though you’re not dressed for it.”
“Oh, I changed my shoes in the car. I left it by the park and thought the walk would improve my mood before I have to face… um, go to work.”
“Hmm.” Cal sipped his steaming black coffee

…  

Valery squinted at the early morning sun and tugged at her scarf. She unzipped her jacket as she got into her car. Sliding the key into the ignition, she started the engine immediately turning the heat off. She slipped her sunglasses into place thinking of bagels and hot coffee as she drove the short distance to work.

Chancing a sip of her coffee at a red light Valery watched the people cross. The cup paused halfway to her mouth. Setting it in the cup-holder, she stared open mouthed until the couple deep in conversation passed.
Sasha you little minx. What secrets have you been keeping from me?Valery’s chuckle startled herself. You didn’t even notice me. I sincerely need to know what you’re up to.
Smiling as the light turned green, her tires spun on the still wet road as she hit the gas. Going to work was less of a drag now. Why was Sasha walking to work with the handsome guy from the bar last week?

If I needed to make the weather more of a factor I would, but unless an epic journey is delayed by a snowstorm or two someones trapped romantically by a sudden downpour I don’t punch my readers in the face with the weather. It’s there, it always is and should be, I just don’t think it has to rule every scenario if it’s not needed.

My advice about the weather.
Even if it’s not a key part of the plot/story mention it to set the scene, it’s as important as clothes. The reader might not need every single blow-your-brains-out detail but a little tidbit is enough to fill in the mental canvas adequately.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Doubt clouds out creativity

Tulips in July

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Sincere
Soil