Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Weather-ing a book: A Round Robin post

At every writer’s conference, there’s bound to be a workshop on Setting as Character. Gothic house, Bahamian beach, big city, small town… each calls for a different cast of “human” characters and situations. But does the weather influence the book as well?

I think so. I quit reading a popular mystery author when I realized after 5 or 6 books that each of her stories was set in the dreary autumn with a too-hopeless-to-be-helped heroine. It made me consider more closely not only my type of heroine (I need women who can save themselves but aren’t too proud to accept help), but also the weather. And here I had to pull up short, because I was writing nothing but August.

August in Texas usually. Not only is it my birthday month, August in Texas has its own characteristics. With few exceptions, it’s wearyingly hot and dry. Not just a little hot, but over 100 degrees hot. Humid, but no rain. It creates a certain atmosphere of lassitude. Everyone is just waiting for that first gust of autumn air, usually mid-September and then snatched away until October. But the September peek at fall gives us hope. But we don’t have that hope in August.

I had already set a few books in August in Texas. It was time to try a different time of year if not a different place. Spring break in Florida. Autumn in Maine. Fall and spring in Texas. August—but in Hawaii!

To see how other authors handle the weather, please check out the following Round Robin members:

Skye Taylor
Rachael Kosinski
Beverley Bateman
Connie Vines
Anne Stenhouse
Helena Fairfax
Judith Copek
Dr. Bob Rich
Victoria Chatham
Rhobin Courtright

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At 10:00 AM CDT, Blogger Rhobin Lee Courtright said...

As another with an August birthday, I can sympathize, although August in Michigan is to be relished -- the last predictably warm weather. Enjoyed your post.

At 11:10 AM CDT, Blogger Victoria Chatham said...

I'm not sure that I could handle the Texas heat. A dry heat is one thing (which we mostly get in my part of Canada) but humidity? Ugh. It sucks the life out of me!

At 5:47 PM CDT, Blogger Skyewriter said...

My favorite season was always summer - one of the reasons I moved from Maine to north east Florida - summer in Maine lasts about two weeks and now I get summer almost all year long. But in my writing, I've varied it more. My historicals often depend on a specific historical event that is already set, date and location wise so I have to go with that. In my contemporary series, the first one began in spring, but events to come in succeeding books were already being set in motion so the next book is in the summer and then winter and now spring. Since they are all set in the same location, a fictional town in coastal North Carolina, all I have to do is check the weather reports for the area to get ideas for weather.

At 1:57 PM CDT, Blogger darkwriter said...

Interesting how you didn't realize you used the same setting for several books, which included Texas weather in August. I did the same thing with my Hawkins Family series. I wrote several books set in small town, Montana. Different names for the towns, and different seasons - but all of a sudden I realized it was the same place - so I turned them into a series set in a place called Duster, Montana.

At 3:40 PM CDT, Anonymous Rachael Kosinski said...

Ooof, I'm glad you pointed out the pitfall of squaring away all your stories in the same month/place: I realized I'm incredibly fond of throwing my characters around Paris: two different series have at least one book that centers on that city, and my only two novellas take place exactly around Christmastime. I've started paying a little more attention after that!

At 7:01 PM CDT, Blogger Dr Bob Rich said...

Kay, what I got from your post is very valuable: avoid unwanted repetitions of anything. I think you used the weather as a case study in presenting variety and novelty.

At 11:02 AM CDT, Blogger JudyinBoston said...

Kay, this is so funny. Every novel and short story I've ever written in set in summer, and the book I'm working on now also takes place in August (Northern Wisconsin.) Weather plays a role, of course. I love how it can affect the character's moods and cause all sorts of trouble.
Good post! I just love reading about how everyone goes about their writing. I am a little late commenting. But still enthusiastic!

At 11:04 AM CDT, Blogger JudyinBoston said...

Kay, what a crazy coincidence. The book I'm writing now is set in August in Northern Wisconsin. All my novels and short stories take place in summer, my favorite season since I was a tot. Odd how we home in on something and stay there. Good post. I am a little late reading the posts this month, but as usual they're all so interesting.


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