Creating a world means creating weather patterns as well as terrain and climate. Weather can add depth to a story. It makes it more real. I used a tornado to good effect in the novel I am currently working on. Severe weather can create challenges for characters. Even something as simple as a downpour can cause problems. If a character has to go somewhere quickly and a downpour has reduced the roads to a morass of mud, or even washed it out completely, there’s conflict and texture.
Weather should not be a bland, background. Weather is dynamic and authors should include it in their stories. if it’s crucial that the characters stay inside, rain makes a great excuse. Sunny days are nice, but what if a sudden squall sinks the sailboat? What do the characters do? blizzards are also good for adding conflict.
Of course, a blizzard near the tropics represents a problem, unless the world is entering an ice age. Knowing what weather can occur in what climate and terrain situations is always good. Again, the reader doesn’t have to know the details, but the author should. The NOAA’s National Weather Service website has some wonderful resources for information about weather as well as forecasts for the United States or their educational website, NOAA Education, gives information about weather. Another source, Meteorology Guide: the online guides, is something I found by Googling™ the term meteorology. It has a number of interesting modules about weather with easy-to-understand information. Stories don’t need a ton of weather facts and figures, just a mention here and there, helps the reader experience the place where the story takes place. Weather is a component of the world and authors need to utilize it to make their stories better. It doesn’t have to dominate the story, unless the story is about characters surviving a weather-related disaster, but it can add that touch of realism to the story.
Weather can do more than just cause problems for characters. It can set the mood for a scene. It’s hard to portray depression without having it rain. It can be done, but sometimes the character needs to think that his mood matches the weather. Sometimes you can have a character stand at a window and look out at the beautiful sunny day and think that it should be raining, the why he or she feels. Or your character can be in such a good mood that the rain pelting down doesn’t matter to it. Weather helps the reader become immersed in the fictional world of the story.
It can also help set the time of year. Even on other planets, a cold time with snow on the ground is winter to us. That’s not something that would change from planet to planet, unless the planet is undergoing an ice age, in which case, it would be winter year round. Weather can provide clues to that too.
World building is complex. Not only does such a built world have to make sense, and have terrain that makes sense, it also needs to have weather that makes sense. Leaving out the weather is like leaving garlic out of spaghetti. It’s still edible, but the flavor is off.
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