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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Breaking the Weather Rule

PLEASE NOTE: I am running my first-ever contest. To learn more, click on the little blue "Contest" tag at right. Welcome!

One of the unwritten rules many would-be critics have warned me against is "Don't start with the weather." According to one reader, the weather is what one discusses when one has nothing to say.

So what do you do when the weather matters -- when it's so important to the setting of your story that it's practically a character in itself? Here is how I am starting one work-in-progress, a novel tentatively titled RIGHT FACE:

Winter had come early to Utah Valley. It was only the first week of October, but already the mercury had registered several consecutive days of sub-freezing weather. Outside in the quad, a relentless wind howled like a tortured soul, lashing the heavy snowfall into drifts and swales or driving it into the eyes of the students who dared to brave the cold. Even here, in the central hall of the Harris Fine Arts Center, the cold still penetrated. Other buildings on the BYU campus were kept toasty warm, but the H-FAC stayed at even, cooler temperatures year-around, a concession to the pianos and paintings.

Is that too much weather talk? Would you give up on me after the first paragraph just because I included the weather?

I'm hoping not, but I'll listen to anything you have to say.


  1. I'm a big fan of breaking whatever rules I can, so if someone tells me not to start with the weather, that's exactly what I'm going to start with. Ha!

    That said, I think the paragraph is fine! I love reading about super-hot or super-cold things. It sets a mood.

  2. I think the paragraph does an excellent job of setting the climate of the story- no pun intended. My first book also uses weather in the first sentence or so. I figured that if Snoopy could do it, I could. I also figured that I actually did have something to say and that the weather comment was part of it. Oh well, I broke other rules, too. Sorry, "they" who make such rules.


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