Monday, December 26, 2011

SNOWBOUND by Linda S. Glaz

Well, the weather never disappoints. There is always one area in the country that gets more than the white Christmas it was hoping for. Some folks don’t arrive at their destinations, others spend Christmas in a motel or find sleeping accommodations in an airport chair. We miss birthdays, weddings, holidays, graduations. The list goes on and on. Because nature is unpredictable. That is what makes it so exciting.

Our stories, when done well, will include “unpredictable” for many reasons. Bits and pieces to add realism, huge amounts to move suspense along, astronomical unpredictability to create an entire theme. Anyone remember Armageddon? White Christmas? Twister? Do you consider weather for your novel beyond the tired, old “it was a dark and stormy night?”

For baby boomers, The Shining must resonate. Without the snow, Jack Nicholson would have given us almost no reason to believe his cabin fever, but with a world of nothing but white, one could easily see his clacking at the typewriter tap tap tapping his mind to mush.

Bing Crosby’s White Christmas would have come up drastically short if the snow had not finally come along with huge flakes and a solution to the general’s bad business decision.

Tastes, smells, sights and sound all play into a good story. But do you remember to include weather to heighten believability? Would the scene below have worked on a bright, shiny day? Or does the subtle hint of bad weather move the bad guy's creepiness along?

Kyle checked his black dollar-store watch again and shivered. He slapped his arms to ward off blasts of cold seeping through the threadbare jacket. A city bus rumbled past and his thoughts fixated on the blown up photo of Rochelle on the side. Bile filled his throat while his ragged fingernails dug into his palms.

Every other day this week, she’d left by now. What was keeping her? Her car, still parked in the back of the lot, indicated she must be working late.

Maybe she’d read his letter already. Maybe she was wondering if he would call her and try to meet her. He shuddered, fantasizing about what he’d like to do to her.

Kyle looked up. Clouds rolled in, their sketchy outlines visible through the deepening darkness. He smiled at his good fortune.

Ongoing ice and snow had kept traffic light on Greater Mack, normally busy this time of year with early Christmas shoppers trampling each other for Black Friday bargains. Evergreens and red ribbons covered the light posts. He sneered at the wasted effort, crushing a discarded candy cane under his foot. Who cared about Christmas anyway? Christmas existed for gullible children and greedy storeowners.

No time for that now. He had to stay focused.

A shiver riveted the thin jacket to his spine.


Rita Garcia said...

Weather. Love the way it highlights a story. Now I need to check out my ms and see if the weather needs to be punched up a bit. Thanks, Linda!

Sharon A. Lavy said...

Weather can become like another character in your book, if your setting allows for it.

Linda Glaz said...

Good point, Sharon. Until I heard about all the snow in Texas, I hadn't thought a lot about it.

Anne Love said...

Thanks for the reminder. My WIP is in January, set in northern Wisconsin, 1894. Weather will certainly play a role! Now back to my plotting to see how to weave it in.