Weather Thesaurus Entry: Dew

WEATHER and PHENOMENA are important elements in any setting, providing sensory texture and contributing to the mood the writer wishes to create in a scene. With a deft touch, weather can enhance the character's emotional response to a specific location, it can add conflict, and it can also (lightly) foreshadow coming events.

However, caution must accompany this entry: the weather should not be used as a window into a character's soul. The weather can add invisible pressure for the character, it can layer the SCENE with symbolism, it can carefully hint at the internal landscape, but it must never OVERTLY TELL emotion. Such a heavy-handed approach results in weather cliches and melodrama (a storm raging above a bloody battle, a broken-hearted girl crying in the rain).

SENSORY DESCRIPTORS:

Sight: Dew adds a crystalline shimmer to greenery and trees, collecting on the upper surface of leaves and in the low point of stems. When morning sunlight hits beads of dew, it creates a light reflection that adds a healthy gleam to natural foliage. Depending on how much moisture is in the air, dew on metal or glass surfaces (cars, patio tables, etc) can be mistaken for rain as the water pearls run together, causing water streaking or areas of pooling.

Smell: Dew adds moisture to natural growth, enhancing the greenery smell and creating a sense of 'freshness' in the air.

Taste: Water (pungent greenery may also flavor dew collected at the site)

Touch: Wet and slick to the touch, dew in the grass will quickly soak through shoes and pant legs, and bring about a chill. Brushing against branches or moveable objects that have collected dew will shake loose water droplets.

Sound: No sound

EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS:

Mood: Dew adds the feel of silence, stillness and freshness that is associated with early morning hours. Adding dew to a scene will add texture to a morning setting that readers will recognize and connect to, and create a reminder of nature and the natural world no matter what conflict is going on inside the character.

Symbolism: Purity, Nature, Cleansing, Life, Health

Possible Clichés: Comparing dew to youth or tears

OTHER: Dew builds in the late evening hours when temperatures are at their coolest, to the early morning hours before the sun rises and water begins to evaporate.

Don't be afraid to use the weather to add contrast. Unusual pairings, especially when drawing attention to the Character's emotions, is a powerful trigger for conflict. Consider how the bleak mood of a character is even more noticeable as morning sunlight dances across the crystals of fresh snow on the walk to work. Or how the feeling of betrayal is so much more poignant on a hot summer day. Likewise, success or joy can be hampered by a cutting wind or drizzling sleet, foreshadowing conflict to come.

9 comments:

tracikenworth said...

One of my favorite things about the morning!!

Marsha Sigman said...

I used dew in a description in my last ms. Your advice totally nailed it!

Becca Puglisi said...

Love this one, Angela. It evokes freshness and cleanness.

Carrie Butler said...

You know, something about this post makes me want a cup of coffee. ;) Great description!

Jeff King said...

Sweet...

Nisa said...

What a great post! Excellent way of explaining how weather can become melodramatic.

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

Like with everything, a simplicity is a key :-)Less is more...
Wonderful post!

Lisa Gail Green said...

The thing I'm writing right now has a LOT to do with weather. So I'm loving these entries. They are very... inspiring!

Mary Witzl said...

I shivered at the words 'crytstalline shimmer'.

I like the idea of using weather as a contrast. T. S. Eliot knew all about this when he wrote "April is the cruellest month." There's nothing more painful than beautiful weather sometimes.

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