Weather – it’s something that generally just happens. We don’t really think about it much unless it affects our plans. But whether or not the weather is explained in a story is actually very important. Here’s some reasons why.
It tells the time of year.
Sometimes, the time of year is important in a story. This is true if the story is centered around a seasonal place like school or a sport that can only be done with certain weather conditions. If your story is about a swim team, it’s not going to take place in the middle of winter unless it’s an indoor pool. Even then, they have to be inside while snow falls outside. If the story talks about an outdoor camping trip, I would hope it doesn’t take place in a snow bank and rather a tent on some summery grass.
It enhances the action.
Just like in the movies, weather can really enhance a scene. Have you ever noticed that in movies it always rains during a funeral? Or when trouble is brewing, a thunderstorm rolls in. It’s all the set the mood for the scene, and writers can do this as well. If a character is urgently racing somewhere, a sudden downpour can enhance the urgency. If a character is planning on a fun day out, a soft breeze and a sunny day can make it all the better. Not to mention using scenery to express an emotion as well: dead plants can signify a void of life or something strange going on, a mountain with snow can signify hardship or beauty; it all depends on what the scene is that needs enhancing.
It can create an opening.
Sometimes when something needs to happen, but I’m unsure about how to get it started, I will send a weather event to a character and cause them to have to do something else. For example, if a character needs to find a cat in an old abandoned barn, perhaps a storm brews up and they need to take cover. If the storm didn’t come, he or she would have never found the cat. The same can work if you want your character to take a rest and set up camp (or similar). It’s a good way to change the scenery, and often it can allow for some backstory or character development in a rest scene.
It can reveal a character’s inner thoughts.
Whether a character is afraid of storms or worried about having a picnic the next day, them seeing the weather can bring many thoughts to their head. If the situation turns into an emergency, like a flood or the like, it can be used to reveal the true nature of a character. For example, if a character is usually very rude and uncaring, they may turn into a different person with a weather condition, saving kittens from overflowing rivers or rescuing old ladies from falling debris. This happens in real life as well, so it can be used all the same in a story.
All in all, though it’s not often thought of, weather is a very important part of a writer’s inventory. Readers will agree that weather can convey much more than expected, enhancing action and moving the story along. Even if a character may stay inside the whole time, they still may hear the weather outside and it can affect them, too. Weather is a very important element in stories, whether you read them or watch them in the theater.