In Sense & Sensibility, Mrs. Dashwood chastises her youngest daughter for speaking improperly about her older sister’s feelings for Mr. Ferrars, stating the above if she has nothing proper to say.
In writing, beginning with a mention of the weather will kill your chances with an agent. ”It was a dark and stormy night” = trash can (or the delete button). I repeat, unless you enjoy rejection, Never Ever begin with the weather. Or a dream sequence. Ann Collette, a literary agent with The Rees Agency, has begun posting on Twitter her reactions to the first 12 submissions of the day. Two or three PER DAY are rejected because of weather or dreaming on the first page.
Get past the first several pages or chapters, however, and it’s a whole other ball game. Weather can add drama, frustration, separation. Imagine a parent trapped in a plane on the runway as the snow piles up, the claustrophobia building, the crazy loon in the next seat beginning to fish around in his soiled backpack.
What if it’s a person’s first experience with snow?
What if the temperature soars into the 100s and the light-headed feeling he/she has builds into heat stroke, causing them to pass out just inside the door at the grocery store?
Use weather wisely and it will texture the story with added drama. It will also keep you out of hot water with your mother, and hopefully with your agent.
Linking up with Heidi at “Me as a Mom” for Black & White Wednesday.