Put weather in.
– Joseph Hansen
Every now and then, something will trigger an image in my mind for a scene. It could be a snippet of conversation on tv, or a song, even a bird. And usually, I get the setting as well: Time of day, what the weather is, urban or rural. I just had a song trigger an image (Loreena McKennitt’s Dante’s Prayer from The Book of Secrets CD). That song would be perfect for the soundtrack during this scene, yanno, just in case my wildest dreams came true and it got made into a movie. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we?
The weird thing about these inspirations is it’s usually a one-time shot. I can listen to the same song again later, walk in the same place, and never again get that exact image in my head. If I don’t get it written down immediately, it’s usually gone.
I have several scenes already where I describe the time of day, and what the weather is like. I’m taking my characters through the year, and pivotal scenes are often outdoors. Weather can change the whole tenor of the scene. Maybe because I live in a somewhat volatile area meteorologically speaking weather has more of an impact on my life. Warm, dry, sunny pleasant days are few and far between. Because of that we have learned to go on with things anyway. When most normal, well-adjusted people would be indoors out of the elements, we’re at the beach, on our bikes, hiking, sailing, jogging. We can’t wait for good weather, and so neither do my characters. They’re going to have to deal with things in bad weather, if the scene comes to me that way. If I see them in the fog, or the rain, I write that in. It’s all part of my master plan to make things as “real” as possible.