Dinner, and the weather

I guess some people have a problem with writers including observations of the weather in their stories? I don’t understand that. I love weather, and it’s always something I’m aware of. My favourite weather is the cold and rainy days that dim the sun and make me just want to curl up beside a fire, favourite book in hand and a tidy selection of Royal Gala apples available to eat throughout the day.

For me, including a small note about the weather or the season in my writing is just a natural thing. I don’t do it constantly, and I definitely don’t have any preconceptions about “dark and stormy nights”, because all my dark and stormy nights have been perfectly normal, or simply thrilling in the way lightning has filled the sky with wild blue and white bolts. Sure, it’s not essential, but there’s that degree of normalcy for me, and it can go a long way towards explaining character behaviours or putting additional conflicts in their path (the need for shelter from the elements, for a start).

On a vaguely unrelated note, I notice that fantasy works often discuss foods. Not only that, but the foods are frequently all of the “hunted a boar, roasting it now” variety, complete with mead, ale, or some wine or other. There might even be trenchers of bread! Dark bread, and rich gravy, and hard cheese. If you’ve read any more than a handful of fantasy novels, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I am personally a big fan of eating. Food is awesome, sharing meals with loved ones is a special thing, and it’s just damn tasty. So I have a similar preoccupation with food as I do with the weather, but I’m not as driven to write about banquets, feasts and other such typical meals. I lean toward just include foods as a part of another scene; maybe the characters are preparing a meal as they talk, or they are interrupted eating to attend to other matters.

I think my take on weather and food is part of my “style”, as it is intrinsic to me. Without those little additions, I don’t think my stories would have the same sense of life to them.

~A

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12 thoughts on “Dinner, and the weather

  1. I agree, Ashlee, I love a mention of the weather or what’s for supper. I don’t find it distracting. It enriches the veracity of the story world for me. And I add these too, naturally.
    Good post.

  2. I don’t think it’s the fact that the weather’s being described, but rather that it’s being described like THAT. By all means, tell us if it’s a dark & stormy night, but please just use a different sentence than, “It was a dark & stormy night.” Those exact words are the joke, not the conditions they describe. “Sudden flashes & roaring thunder ripped through the twilight,” or “so much lightning illuminated the road that it was like driving in daytime, ” or something like that. Use the “dark & stormy night” sentence when you’re intentionally trying to be cliched or silly; otherwise, change it up.

    1. Oh no, I’ve definitely heard/read from some people (writers and other “knowledgeable” types included) that any mention of weather is superfluous and somehow actually detrimental. If it were just the type of weather description that they disagreed with, I would understand (flat, overused writing is just that, no matter what the subject), but something I saw recently was just straight up saying not to talk about the weather at all.

      ~A

      1. Oh. Well, that’s just silly, then. Weather actually influences people’s actions; it’s like they’re trying to dictate how you’re allowed to shape a plot.

  3. You are so random! What you say is true though, it’s always so cliched, but by the same token, most fantasies are set in ‘ages past’, times when more wholesome banquets were not available, when you average peasant did survive off of hard cheese, moldy bread and a pidgeon if you could fling an accurate stone at one.
    By the way, get back on Facbeook woman. I don’t care what your excuses are. If you can update your blog, you can update Facebook! I miss your smaller, instant and often comical updates there!

    1. I tend to blog about whatever comes to mind, so I guess it might seem random. 🙂

      Unfortunately, my internet has been having severe conflicts with any secure server, so I can access some websites and not others. Facebook being in the latter category (and obviously I can’t change my settings to cease browsing on a secure server, either). I’m hoping to get this sorted out ASAP.

      ~A

  4. My favorite weather is rainy and cool — as long as it’s interspersed with *some* sunny days! Weather and what I eat definitely has a direct relationship to how much I write, too, so I know what you mean — and I have blogged about both the weather and food on a regular basis! 🙂

    1. Here in Perth, there’s never too long between sunshine and blue skies! 😉 Food is super important! As I’ve said before, writing on an empty stomach is a good way to hate everything you’re doing. XD

      ~A

      1. I guess I should’ve payed closer attention to your post last month!! Then I wouldn’t be editing/revising to add in the weather in this draft! Seriously, I was thinking that my finishing the draft was so fast and furious that I just couldn’t get everything in, so thank goodness for editing!

        I think it’s so interesting in this post how you mirrored the kind of comments Mark Twain said — it just proves what a natural writer you are! I love this post even more the second time around!

        1. Aww, those are such lovely things to say, Julia! And you’re absolutely right; sometimes we’re pouring out our stories so fast, we forget all our rules, all our plans, and are forced by our very own enthusiasm to revise hard afterward!

          ~A

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