Weather Thesaurus Entry: Rainbow

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: A multi-colored arch, sometimes bright and clear, sometimes faint and fuzzy. Rainbows can vary in size, from single and double ones that cross the sky, to smaller ones around waterfalls or even beneath the spray of a sprinkler. 

Smell: n/a

Taste: n/a

Touch: n/a

Sound: n/a

EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS:

Mood: Rainbows in the sky aren't something you see everyday, so the sight of one is like a gift. This is why some people feel happy, optimistic, or even lucky after seeing one. Rainbows usually occur after a rainfall, when the weather clears. Such a sight may remind viewers of a new beginning or a fresh start.

Symbolism: God's promise, diversity, gay pride, happiness

Possible Cliches: rainbows as signs of good luck, rainbows at the conclusion of a story to signify a happy ending, leprechauns and pots of gold

OTHER: The rainbow is basically what happens when water meets light; the light is spread out into its spectrum of colors so the observer can see it. Rain or some form of water (mist, a fountain, a waterfall, etc.) must be present, and the sun should be behind the observer when facing the phenomenon. When we see a rainbow, we are seeing the place where light and water meet. We can't see the water that is below the horizon, which is why the rainbow's arch always seems to stop there. The higher we are above the ground, the more the rainbow can be seen, as evidenced in this picture of a rainbow taken from an airplane. No clue why that would be relevant to anyone's story, but it sure is cool.

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.

18 comments:

Kristen said...

I'm going to channel my middle school daughters when I say this: OMG! I so totally need a rainbow in my story!
Another good one--thanks! :)

Karen Lange said...

I agree, a rainbow is a gift! When we see them from the front porch of our home, they are often double ones. It's really a treat. Thanks for another great entry!

Angela Ackerman said...

DOUBLE RAINBOW! *sound of weeping* WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Oh come on now, someone had to say it! :) Good one, Becca!

Angela

Julie Musil said...

When my family sees a rainbow, it's so exciting! We live out in the boonies, so we've seen some really cool ones. Like double rainbows. Awesome post ladies, as always

Matthew MacNish said...

Double Rainbow FTW!

The Golden Eagle said...

I've seen double rainbows a few times; but all rainbows are pretty amazing to see!

Becca Puglisi said...

LOL. I'd actually never heard of that video. I googled double rainbow, and there it was.

I'm so hip.

Angela Ackerman said...

*pulls Becca out from under her rock and dusts her off*

Jeff King said...

Great pic... and post!

Carrie Butler said...

What a fun topic! It reminds me of this rainbow guide I saw awhile back. It was a little too technical for me to fully grasp, but I found it interesting. :)

...Okay, so I just liked the pictures. *grins* Anyway, enough rambling from me. Great post!

tracikenworth said...

A rainbow is indeed a gift!! Thanks for sharing. I will use this in my next wip for sure!!

Lisa Gail Green said...

That is a cool fact about being seen better from up high. :D

Bish Denham said...

Oh! Rainbows! What I wouldn't give to see a rainbow!

Martha Ramirez said...

What a beautiful rainbow ( ir two, I mean lol). Great post, Becca!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

There's nothing more spectacular than a double rainbow. :D

Aithne said...

Always find your posts fascinating. Wish you had a Tweet this button.

This post also opens my eyes as a paranormal author because I'd love to create the other senses you have marked as n/a. lol

I'm over the rainbow to factor this into a story. ;D

Angela Ackerman said...

Hi Aithne,

There's a share bar right below the post by the Google +1 button, and you can share right from there :) Thanks for the visit and comment--I like the idea of a rainbow having a smell and taste--how cool would that be?

Angela

Becca Puglisi said...

Do rainbows smell like sherbet?

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