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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Take charge already!

People need to do stupid things for exciting things to happen. Sometimes that stupid thing is overlooking the obvious and falling for deceit. Sometimes it can be as simple as making the wrong call or judgement. When I put someone in charge they must be confident and… well… take charge. The person following should do as they are told. (Unless the story is about them defying authority. or it foreshadows their personal journey growth) Generally when danger errupts there are people who jump up and take control and those that shrink back and wait for instruction. A person who is taking the responsibility can succeed magnificently, minimally succeed, fail slightly or fall flat on their face. What a great opportunity taking charge can bring about. This is a chance to let someone shine, rise up and become the hero or fail, fall and hang their head in shame. It could also be the opportunity for both…

To recap, Sasha is with Cal in protective custody at a hotel. The fire alarm has just gone off and it seems suspicious.

Sasha put her running shoes on despite the alarm and Cal’s assurance. She sat on the couch and bounced her feet making her legs shake. In what seemed like an eternity someone knocked on the room door loudly. Cal put his finger to his lips and she nodded. The knock came again followed by the sound of a card key sliding into place. Cal grabbed Sasha’s hand, dragged her to his room and pushed her to the ground between his bed and the window.
“Not a sound.” He laid down nearly over her and wedged them to the bed completely hidden from the door that he stoppered open earlier. Confronting the intruders wouldn’t get Cal any information. If they came too close he would incapacitate them easily enough. 

“Sir? Ma’am? Anyone here?” The man calling out came in, went to Sasha’s room and then approached Cal’s. “Hello? We’re evacuating, there’s a fire on the west side.”

Cal put his hand over Sasha’s mouth the second she tensed. There was no fire. 

“Bitch was supposed to be in this damned room.” The man muttered and raised his cellphone. “Sorry sir she’s not here, she vanished… Yeah I’m sure, I even checked the bathrooms. Either the info was false or they evacuated with everyone else. Let the others know… Sure I’ll see if it’s here hold on.”

The second the man left the room Cal got up. “Don’t move or make a sound.” He whispered then crept away silently with his gun drawn. Sasha couldn’t move even if she wanted to and didn’t recall him having a gun on him.

Cal moved toward Sasha’s room with his gun aimed. The door was just about closed, he stuck his foot in silently and slipped in unnoticed.

“She’s definitely the one, yes the files here… I have no dammed idea why she has them it doesn’t make sense sir… Yes sir… No he’s not with me. I have no control over him or what he does, he took off after I set the alarm off.” The man turned in time to see Cal’s fist. Cal grabbed the phone and saw private number displayed. He could hear “hello?” being repeated. 

“Sorry sir. Thought I heard something.” Cal did his best to mimic the man’s whine.

Leave the file I want to see what she does. Get out and report back before the police see you.” The call ended and Cal looked at the folder the man had opened on the desk.

“What is going on?” Cal said and looked at the dirty man on the floor who smelled like spoiled milk. “I think you need to answer some questions.” Cal cuffed him quickly, went to the main room door to put the bar bolt on, called backup and told them what happened. By the book, he wasn’t willing to risk a case for this anomaly.

“Come out Sasha it’s safe.” He called toward the room. “Sasha?” He ran to his bedroom. “Shit.” He pulled his phone out as he checked the outside hall. Empty. “She’s gone. Block all he exits. They couldn’t have gone far she can’t just vanish into thin air. Get the back-up here pronto… They’re all blocked? Good I’ll wait for him.” Cal cursed again and double-checked the rooms. The second an officer arrived to secure the intruder Cal was out into the hall.

“Okay Cal where the hell would they take her?” Cal looked both ways. Stairs were obvious but have been blocked by officers long enough they wouldn’t get out. The elevator, maybe. He stopped and listened. If he were trapped but still wanted to get the target… “They’re still here.” He walked slowly down the hall listening and looking at the doors. It would take a while to get a master-key to search each room.

The thing about characters taking charge in dangerous situations they either need to be naturally inclined to be in charge(written that way) or there needs to be some sort of character build up toward them becoming strong enough to take charge. What I mean is don’t pull it out of your ass and have them miraculously become someone they are not and have not been on their way to becoming.

My advice about people taking charge.
Someone has to, so choose wisely because if you don’t then the reader might not believe what is going on. 

-Sheryl

Posts from the past.

Show and tell

What happened to that guy?

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Vanish

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