And the countdown continues. Only two scenes remain in the Coma Wedding outline.
So…I reworked one of the scene blurbs today for a reason that I think merit’s mentioning.
When I returned to the United States as a kid, I lived in Virginia and Massachusetts before moving out to California where I stayed until about 3 years ago. I’m still getting used to having seasons again when almost half my life was spent without significant ones.
Coma Wedding is a (largely) contemporary novel. It’s set in the southern East Coast, and it begins in March and carries through to early November.
I make a point of mentioning seasons, the turning of the leaves, the snow on the ground, the light turning dimmer, but I haven’t quite absorbed them into my psyche. On one side of my outline is a little counter. I say how many days have passed in the book, and it comes up with a date based on adding to the "base date" back in March. This helps me keep track of the big holidays that would have to have some, no matter how minor, impact on the story. Things like Fourth of July doesn’t slip by without someone mentioning it, without seeing a flag, or hearing a homegrown fireworks go off. Therefore, I need the calendar to make sure my characters notice costumed folks showing up on October 31st for example.
However, this also tells me what time of year the action is happening. As you might have guessed, two scenes from the end, I’m smack dab in the middle of November…in Virginia.
So two scenes ago, my heroine goes running outside with just an old gardening sweater as a coat. Some people can do that (like my kids) but to everyone else, she would be freezing. And so she is. I got the weather angle perfect there and even made it into a plot point :D.
But when I started into the next scene this morning and read over the blurb, I realized my outline failed to account for such a simple thing like season. I have them going out onto the porch in early evening for privacy…in NOVEMBER. It’s not like they’re going to bundle up first.
Since I didn’t want to end the book two scenes prematurely by my heroine either dying of pneumonia or slipping on the icy steps and breaking her neck, I fixed it in the actual draft, but the problem in my outline has served as a timely reminder of the importance of tracking the time line closely, and of the myriad of ways weather has an impact on the story.
So what are the ways you handle weather in your stories, whether driven by reality in a contemporary setting or by the climate forces you’ve put into place?
New Words: 1371 words
78 complete – 98% of the novel
2 Scenes remain
2686 Remaining word count
107436 Estimated length – with an average of 1343 words per scene.
104750 Current Total