Using Spring Weather in a Setting

My blog is following “The Journey of a Book” this year, and you can’t write a book without examining setting. Besides the buildings and landscapes our stories takes place in, we writers also have to consider the climate and the weather. I live in Ohio, which is also the setting of my mystery series. It’s a temperate climate, making spring unpredictable. That quality gives my imagination a whole lot of scope for using spring weather in a setting.

Spring Reflects a Characters

One of my favorite descriptions for a character appears in the short story “Naboth’s Vineyard” by Melville Davisson Post. 

Describing a young woman “.. with an April nature of storm and sun.”

I can create a character with the extreme and unpredictable swings in temperament and have that temperament underscored by unpredictable and extreme weather. When he’s in a good mood, the sky is blue with puffy white clouds. When’s he’s sad, the weather’s a steady drizzle. When he’s angry, a spring storm pops up.

A character with a hair-trigger temper is like a sudden spring storm. I once described a character with a temper like a tornado. “You never know where it will land and how much damage it will do.”

Spring Reflects Plot

I’m working on this right now with my latest WIP A Storm in Summer (I know the title says summer, but since the story takes place in early and mid-June, it’s technically spring). I want the weather to grow more ominous throughout the story until the storm hits at the climax.

You can use the sudden changes in spring weather to mimic sudden plots twists. Or the emotional arc of a character. A character struggling with a problem at the beginning of the story could be living through unpleasant weather. And then as she succeeds in solving her problem, the weather improves.

Spring is Plot

The changeable weather is a perfect way to create believable plots twists. A gang of crooks pulls off a daring robbery. As they make their getaway, a storm ruins their escape route. What do they do? The amateur sleuth figures out who the killer is when they are alone in a remote location. The killer realizes the sleuth is onto her. She tries to kill the sleuth, but he takes off. A storm or flash flood complicates the sleuth’s escape and the killer’s pursuit. What do they do?

A powerful storm and flash flooding figure into my climax in A Storm in Summer.

What is spring weather like where you live? How would you use spring weather as writing inspiration?

What’s Their Setting for a YA Story?

Last week, I asked you to vote on a plot for the protagonist and antagonist pictured above. I had a tie between the puzzle and the quest. So I chose … the puzzle because that’s what I write. But a puzzle, or mystery, does not have to be related to crime. It’s any problem the protagonist must solve and the antagonist wants to prevent him from solving. Now comes the last block to build a story. What’s their setting for a YA story?

I list some traditional and not so traditional choices, but the main setting should be a place where the protagonist and antagonist come into regular contact. And it should be easy to introduce other characters. We also have to decide if our main characters are high school or college age because that also will affect the choice of setting. Feel free to choose more than one. For example, both characters could work a local pizza place in a small town.

  • Small town
  • Big city
  • Public high school
  • Private high school
  • State university
  • Private college
  • Restuarant
  • Riding stable
  • Charter boat service or other service in a vacation town
  • Library–personal favorite because I worked in libraries for ten years
  • State house in state capital–another personal favorite because my niece just got a job working as a legislative page. Sounds very interesting.
  • Garden center
  • Farm
  • State park

To see the previous prompts for building a YA story, click here.

Let me know your choices in the comments!

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