Thursday Writing Prompt No. 41

Pier, Outer Banks, North Carolina. I manipulated the image with
Topaz Adjust 5's quad tone yellow filter, then faded it back
in Photoshop to 40% using the linear dodge layer effect.

This week’s Thursday Writing Prompt is about setting mood. It’s raining outside, and it’s one of those kind of rains that promises to hang around all day — or at least until sunset, when the sun comes out just in time to sink over the horizon. We seem to have quite a few of those kind of rainy days here. Or perhaps those are just the ones that I remember.

Weather is an important part of setting. But whether it gets top billing in your story or just acts as a background is up to you. Outdoor stories that involve your characters facing some environmental aspect of weather, such as a blizzard or hurricane, certainly push the weather to the foreground. But you can overdo it if all you do is describe the rain or wind or snow. It’s how you handle it that’s important. Your choice of words will not only give your readers a clue as to how important the weather is to your story, but they can really paint a picture of the scene.

Searching online for “writing about the weather” brings up a host of articles about writing weather reports for journalism classes. I also found links to writing poems about the weather, which reminded me that I wrote a poem about rain for an undergraduate class that turned itself into a poem about a flood. This was just a few months after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast region. I was affected by it even though I had not intentionally thought about writing a poem about a flood.

So here’s your assignment: write a poem about weather. It can be rain, snow, ice, wind, or blue skies: fair or foul, it’s all grist for the mill. Even if poetry is not your “thing,” try writing a few lines of verse anyway. Later, you can incorporate some of your phrases into a short story or whatever else you’re working on. Writing is all about words, and even dabbling with poetry will give you a wider range of skills to draw on. Now go out there — with an umbrella, if necessary — and create some art.

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