Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum. A number of factors, namely climate, weather, people and locations, influence it. This is drama. Fiction, if it is to mirror life, also has influences. A story without weather isn’t much of a story. Weather has been known to change history. When the US was planning the bombing runs for the first nuclear attack, weather played a bigger role than most people realize. Nagasaki was third on the list of Japanese cities to be bombed with a nuclear weapon. Bad weather over the second city on the list saved that city from Nagasaki’s fate. This is drama. Weather can contribute to mood, it can provide conflict, and make a story come to life as much as anything else.
Location has a lot to do with grounding a story in reality. Location is important in that a lot of your weather depends on where you are. In addition, you can’t have a character stranded on a ledge below a cliff in a story set in Nebraska. Location determines the climate.
Climate is the long-range weather pattern that spans decades. You can’t have people struggling against a blizzard in Hawaii or the Caribbean. Conversely, hurricanes don’t often strike North Dakota. You have to figure out what the climate of the country where you set your story is like before you write it. It’s affected by the topography of the land and that is where your characters will play out your story.
Unless you are writing a very short story, you will need a host of extras that populate the background of your story. They are the rest of the audience in a movie theater, the crowd watching the fireworks or shopping in the mall. They pass your main characters in hallways and doorways. They sell your characters chewing gum, sodas or groceries. These characters don’t have to have names or even speak. They only have to be there. Your characters are not the only people in the world, unless they are the crew of a small space ship. Usually other people live in the area. There are very few towns with only five or six people in them. Remember to allude, at least, to the rest of the population. You will have service people such as police, fire fighters, postal carriers and so on.
Fiction, like life, can’t occur in a vacuum. Enriching your story with weather, topography and crowds can make it come alive and help your readers figure out where they are, and increases their enjoyment of the story. this is what you as an author should strive for