Weather Thesaurus Entry: Frost

WEATHER is an important element 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: surfaces (car hoods, flower petals, blades of grass) covered in a thin layer of ice, a sparkling effect as the sun catches it--increasing as the air warms and the ice melts, leaf edges that look fuzzy or furry, thick spots that look like a dusting of snow

Smell: a clean, cold smell

Taste: ice

Touch: icy coldness that immediately crumbles or melts from the warmth of your hand, a crusty cushion beneath your shoes

Sound: brittle crunching as you step, a drip of melting frost, the tinkling sound of frost falling from high surfaces to the ground below, a still silence

EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS:

Mood: The first frost of the year usually occurs in the fall and hints that summer is over and cooler weather is coming. For this reason, early frosts can put a person in mind of upcoming changes, whether welcome or not. Frost also has a fresh, crisp quality that can elicit a feeling of rejuvenation. A landscape that softens and transforms all signs of human habitation can bring about a sense of harmony with nature

Symbolism: transformation, new beginnings and second chances, change

Possible Cliches: ?

OTHER: Frost most often occurs on clear cold nights. As a plant loses heat, its leaves cool. If the plant temperature is cooler than the air temperature, then moisture from the surrounding air condenses on the plant's leaves. If the leaf temperature drops below freezing, the water freezes and becomes frost. This occurs even when the air temperature is above freezing. Frost forms more quickly on colder surfaces, such as cars and grass, than it does on concrete or wood.

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 tension. 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.

23 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

I love walking on frosty crunchy grass it's one of my favorite things to do. :) Thanks guys!

Matthew MacNish said...

Frigid.

Bish Denham said...

Oh brrrrrrr. But it should would feel nice to have some cool weather right about now...and lots of rain.

I know she's busy, but I have something for Angela over at my blog.

Angela Ackerman said...

The only cliche I can think of would maybe be pairing frost with the emotion anger like a 'frosty look' (but I'm guilty of using that one, lol)

Angela

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love the picture! The emotional trigger of mood on this one is awesome! :-)

Michael Offutt said...

Such a chilling picture. You realize because of this post...people will come up with as many "cold" adjectives as possible, right?

XOXO

Karen Lange said...

I'm getting chilly just reading about this! That's not a bad thing though, it's in the mid 90's here today!

Heather said...

I'm chilly now! But in a good way. I love fall and this reminds me so much of it!

Heather said...

I'm chilly now! But in a good way. I love fall and this reminds me so much of it!

Kelly said...

Great post.
ANd I am not looking forward to the first frost. I love summer!

Gail Shepherd said...

One of the most memorable usages of frost and snow for me was in Game of Thrones (the book, still haven't seen the TV series). I feel like I can still taste the air up on that frozen wall at Castle Black.

Carrie Butler said...

I love the post, but I'm praying it won't frost for a long, long time. I'm not ready for the cold yet! ;)

C.R. Evers said...

Awesome post and great picture!

Martha Ramirez said...

Another useful post! Thanks. I enjoy reading what you guys come up with next:)

The Golden Eagle said...

I love frost--especially the way it looks on the windows or on a field, just before it melts. :)

Peony said...

Awesome post! I've never thought to use frost before to symbolize something. Thanks for the inspiration!

tracikenworth said...

Beautiful, crystallized picture. I can hear the snap of it as it breaks beneath my body weight.

Talli Roland said...

I love when grass fronts over. So beautiful.

Christina Lee said...

EXCELLENT points- thx!!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I love this post, especially now that September is here and summer is leaving. I've got weather on my mind. Did you know that? ; )

Marian Perera said...

I like frost (as opposed to deep snow or slick ice that sends me crashing to the ground). Frost is like a delicate coat of icing sugar. And as you said, it has that indefinable cold clean "frost" smell.

Janet, said...

Cool post! I am looking forward to having the first frost of autumn.

thepatientdreamer said...

We have had frost and now heading into spring and looking forward to summer..lol. Thankyou for this.

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