Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth!

Given that the weather here in sunny California reached a blistering 107 F today, I decided my post would be about weather and certain writer ticks.

Good writers know how to use subtle scenic details to their advantage. Colors, scents, temperatures. Chances are, you won't see a horror story set in sprawling, vibrant green grassy fields full of flowers and chirping birds. Nor are you going to read a feel-good scene set in a grimy, roach-infested motel. (Yes, yes. Exceptions to everything, though, right?)

Maybe it's the type of books I enjoy writing, but I've come to notice a lot of my stories are set during the winter. Cold temperatures, lots of snow and/or rain, where the world is frigid and washed out. I'm not sure if this is just a subconscious tick of mine because I loathe summer and the heat, or if it simply fits into the mood of the type of stories I write.

I've also noticed some of my favorite books in terms of concepts/settings are also defined by weather. Such as Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER series, which definitely revolves around winter. In fact, the weather and setting in her books is almost a character unto itself.

So I chalk it mostly up to my own preferences and ticks. Much like people who have a tendancy of overusing specific words, phrases or mental imagery, right? Things we probably don't notice until we're reading back over our work and going, "Oh, huh... I did that a lot." Though in this case, I'm not referring to over-partialness to words.

(I overuse elipses, though, for what it's worth. They just look so...nice...!)

(Also, even as I'm writing this and thinking, "I need to write something set in the middle of summer," my brain is rebelling at the idea. "Ew! Hot and sticky heat, gross, gross!" Sigh.)

Anyone notice particular ticks about your settings? Do you prefer one type of weather over another? Do you find any of your characters sharing common traits?

ALSO...we've reached the beautiful 500 follower mark!! Look forward to something coming up for that milestone, guys.


  1. I'm with you on setting my characters in the middle of fall or winter. I think it's the rain. There are many different "moods" of rain. For me, harsh weather is a much more compelling setting than a bright sunny day.
    BTW, your cartoon is too funny! That's why I live in the Pacific Northwest; it rains so often I don't have to feel guilty about being inside typing away.

  2. Emily, exactly re: rain having different moods. It can be dreary and depressing, smothering, could be refreshing and cleansing.

  3. Happy 4th of July to everyone at YAtopia!!

  4. Thanks, Trisha!
    Kelley, I love the moods that seasons/weather evoke! My books span the seasons, so it's fun to play around with each of them. :) I LOVE when the setting sets the tone of a story.

  5. I love elipses too! LOL.

    Seasons aren't as big in my books, but I notice a lot of my books take place in wooded areas. I love bodies of water too. Lakes, oceans.

  6. I guess I haven't given weather much thought before, but now that I think about it, despite being a fellow Californian who also hates the heat, a lot of my stories begin in summer. The thing is, though, with the weather, I like to transition from the protagonist's happy, sunny life to something that changes with the weather--the fall and crisis of autumn, the seeming doom of a never-ending winter. Of course, somewhere in there, I throw in some good ol' rain :D Heck, even if the entire story takes place in summer, I still manage to get rain in there somewhere, haha.

  7. I SOOOOOO identify with that comic. It was beautiful outside this week, and the muse had me locked up inside the whole time on a 30,000 word writing rampage.

    My muse and I have a very D/S relationship. Bordering on abuse sometimes...

    Lupines and Lunatics

  8. I love to hear that others have a love of rain!!! I find nearly all of my deeply emotional scenes occur in the rain. What the hell IS that? LOL There's just something about the rain that's so cathartic and...weepy. (And I love ellipses too.)

  9. Happy 4th of July!

    That comic had me laughing so hard. I feel like that is me a lot of the time. It's so hard to resist the pull of the computer! Notice what I am doing right now? ;)

  10. Happy 4th. I guess I might overuse fall but frequently, I write high school and beginning of the year stuff so it sort of fits. Plus, I really do love fall the best. So much possibility.