Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Word on Weather and Worlds

Jeez, you know it's going to be bad when you look outside on a morning in late October and there is six inches of snow on the ground and you live no where near the Arctic Circle. I'm just saying.

Did anyone know about the Nor'easter that hit NJ today, or was that a Mother Nature whammy no one saw coming? I swear it was straight out of my novella Solarion Heat. Ironically enough, in that book an advance military team travels to a planet of duel suns in search of a new place to settle their civilization as their current local has become a planet of perpetual winter.

I, too, dream of fleeing when winter hits. Not that I don't find the fluffy white stuff pretty. on the contrary, there is great beauty in the winter time - as long as it does not effect the road surfaces. Which is one of the perks of writing futuristic and sci-fi on ice encrusted planets - I can control the transportation systems. Heated highways, hover cars, jet propulsion engines, catapiller-esque roller vehicles that move like a northern blast off the Great Lakes. All of these marvels of locomotion help futuristic characters to survive without losing their minds in a world covered in a snow menace of gridlock proportions. I mean really, I like conflict ala Man v. Nature as much as the next author, but if I'm creating the world, I'm taking out the petty annoyances like failure of local townships to plow and salt thus creating road hazards that really ought not to be a part of my life in October 2008. *insert big breath here*

The flip side of this is how does the weather effect our writing? I've often noticed that I decide the time of year most of my stories take place in, and they have very little to do with the current season or even the opposite one. I don't concentrate on writing beach scenes in the lonely days of winter and I don't strive to create ski conditions in the middle of the dog days of summer. I try to go with what is right for that particular book. Is it a vampire novel? I might choose the very late winter, early spring when the weather in the Mid-Atlantic states is completely unpredictable. That way I can have an ice storm in one scene and an unseasonably warm day the next and not get it wrong. If you live in the northeast you know of what I speak. I did that in The Host: Shadows. The use of late winter/early spring had more to do with Tristain St. Blaise's redemption against the backdrop of the renewal of spring than mood.

This coming spring will see the release of Kingmaker's Gold from The Wild Rose Press, now this was offically my first holiday themed novella. Since it has to do with sexy Leprechaun kings and the setting of Victorian New York, I decided again to use spring, because of St. Patrick's Day. Also, given my previous example of how the weather in the northeast during that part of the year is so unpredicatable, add to that a time period (1910) devoid of Doppler Radar and the National Weather Service and you have conditions and weather fronts the characters have no hope of preparing for.

Thinking back, I believe I write the majority of my stories during the cold weather. I think because it limits the characters' movements or is just plain miserable. You got to torture your characters - including with the weather.



Sierra Wolfe said...

Great post! I enjoyed reading about how you incorporate the weather into your stories. I don't think enough people use the power of mother nature enough as the backdrop of their stories. Too many times I read stories full of blue skies and sunny days. It's a real treat when we get to see something different.

I also love the pretty white blanket that covers the ground in the winter time, unless it becomes harmful. Sometimes it's nice and cozy to be locked up inside the house, unable to venture outside. Those days are nice, occasionally. But no one would like that everyday.

JC Coy said...

Good post. I also like using cold/crappy weather to torment my characters. Just when they think things really stink...hit them with a good snow and freezing cold and life gets a little worse. Works every time.

Savanna Kougar said...

Character torture by extreme weather -- okay, I'll go with that.
Yeah, I was worried about all the people who lost power.
And I'm like you, in that when I create another world, there are common sense solutions to living in the environment, which have, so far, escaped us on good ole' dear Earth.
Great post!