Weather Thesaurus Entry: Spring


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: sun showers, longer days, trees and grasses greening up, flowers blooming, buttercups, daffodils, tulips, lilies, dormant plants pushing back up through the earth, buds and blossoms on trees, increased animal activity, baby animal sightings, effects from breezes, warm weather clothes, rivers rise and run swiftly from snowmelt, more butterflies/bees/other insects (because of increased blossoms), people working in their yards, birds flying north, nest-building, the emergence of hibernating animals, plants pushing up through snow or ice, increased pollen in the air, umbrellas and rain boots, kids playing baseball, rainbows, cherry blossoms

Smell: the clean damp smell after it rains, newly turned dirt for gardens, floral scents

Taste: rain, Easter candy

Touch: the sun's warmth on your skin, the fresh touch of the breeze as opposed to the frigid one you've felt all winter long, spongy or grainy feel of dirt in the garden, dirt clods falling on your feet as you pull weeds, the clean feel of the air on your legs and arms after so much time wearing long sleeves and pants, allergy symptoms

Sound: rushing water, rain falling, bare feet slapping the pavement, puddle-splashing, birds chirping, insects buzzing, kids-playing-outside sounds, the honk of geese as they return home, the crack of balls hitting bats

EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS:

Mood: After so many months of cold weather and brown landscapes, spring brings a renewed sense of optimism. Spirits lift, people are more friendly and kind. Spring evokes hope and renewed vigor.

Symbolism: renewal, rebirth, beginnings, second chances, cleansing

Possible Cliches: spring chickens, April showers bring May flowers, robin's egg blue

OTHER: As always, weather and seasons vary by region. Spring in Canada looks very different from spring in southern California. Temperate areas may have a very short spring, if any at all. 

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. 

14 comments:

JeffO said...

We have had a shockingly mild winter so far, but I am looking forward to it. I'd add in the chorus of spring peepers (or whatever the first frogs are that are local to your particular region) and toads. Mud tracking in everywhere. Swollen buds on trees, pale, pale green of the first leaves. Oh, hurry up and get here!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I can't wait for this. Last week's freezing weather has made me long for the real spring. The one with pretty flowers like that. :D

Angela Ackerman said...

I love the smell of the earth as the snow thaws and it warms. And the green smell in the air as the first shoots poke out of the ground and grass begins to grow. :)

Oh Spring, can't wait for you to get here!

tracikenworth said...

Oh, my favorite time of year!! :) Coming soon. I mean, it's almost February, lol. Didn't realize springs varies by region. Good to know. Thanks for the post!!

heathermarsten said...

Good point about weather varying by region. It has to be hard to use weather without being too heavy handed about it. Thanks for your ever-helpful thesaurus.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

The smells and colors are my favorite things about Spring. LOVE that picture! :-)

Carrie Butler said...

I can't wait for spring! :) Great post!

Diane Fordham said...

Another great post. Thank you. The flooding rains of late have stirred emotions inside me from feeling hopeless, dread and fear to (as the flood waters subsided) relief and thanks. :-)

The Golden Eagle said...

Beautiful picture!

Another interesting post. I especially love the different sounds you listed. :)

catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com said...

What a beautiful Spring picture. You've really got us in the mood for Spring with this great post. Thanks!

Southpaw said...

Another awesome post! I love the photo too.

Becca Puglisi said...

I know, it was totally rude for me to post this in the dead of winter, lol.

Julie said...

Ugh... I'm CONSTANTLY having to remember to do this. I've exhausted my supply of sticky notes, colored marker signs and comment boxes trying to remind myself. For real. [sigh] Someday I'll get it [fingers crossed!]

P.s. Love your followers box... "Esteemed Stalkers"... *snort* LOVE it!!

Julie Musil said...

What a gorgeous photo! And what an excellent entry on spring, my second favorite season! (summer is first <3)

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