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Writing weather

I’m gazing out of my window at grey skies and the threat of rain. A typical August Bank Holiday, in fact. With every cloud, however, there is a silver lining, as it has inspired me to blog about weather this week.

Stormy skies

You’ll be glad to know that I’m not about to plunge into a detailed meteorological discussion or (as seems to be expected of the British) to moan about it being too cold, too hot, to wet and too dry. No, what crossed my mind was  the way I’ve used weather in The Bremmand Chronicles.

Quite early in the first book, I hit upon the idea of using weather as a device in the books. Dale, a woodsman by birth and breeding, makes a connections between weather and the protection of the royal family when rain comes to cover their tracks. Other passing references come and go throughout the books and, for one of the books to come, weather will be a critical component in a scene. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’m sing weather as symbolism – if things are going badly, I don’t always add in grey skies and storms – but I do make use of Dale’s superstition.

Weather is great tool for atmosphere too. It is a common frame of reference for all readers and, with a bit of effort, you can really paint a picture. What I realised is that, to do that, you need to express weather in terms of all multiple senses and also in terms of emotions. Take rain, for example. As it falls, it can feel warm and soft or hard and cold against the skin (touch), it makes sounds as it hits the ground (hearing), moves leaves and grass as it falls (sight), changes the scent of the air (smell) and, if a character is pressing through a storm, can get into the mouth and give flavour (taste). Rain can also be angry and violent, or gentle and soothing or anything in between. It is wonderful stuff!

In fact, I must be one of the very few British people who loves our ever changing weather. Any time something different comes along, I’m busy taking notes and thinking how I can use it in my next book!

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