#WW Writing Help from the World

25 Nov

About a week ago, it began to thunderstorm in the middle of November…and it rained for three days. The storm—insignificant to many—took me back to when I was a preteen and first writing Bad Bloods. I recalled how much I enjoyed the overall storyline but struggled with the simple aspects of the novel, mainly the weather.

It seems silly, doesn’t it? Here I was, able to write a storyline in a made-up world with imagined characters, but I couldn’t figure out something as mundane as the weather patterns. In fact, one of the aspects I had to change in the rewrite was the moon cycle, which ended up being a lot more complicated than I ever predicted. (Mainly because the moon plays a significant role in the book.) But we’ll get to that issue in a minute.

A little background on my yet-to-be-released two-part series: Bad Bloods takes place in November of 2089. So, literally, the entire story happens in 30 days. The original version only happened between November 1 to November 27—because I wasn’t the best at pacing yet—and this created an interesting conundrum when I went back to rewrite it. The two main problems? I wanted the story to happen from November 1 to November 30, and I wanted the full moon to happen on the exact date it will happen in the future year of 2089. The original version was off, but the original version had a lot to tell me. And while I think many writers look at this example as pretty extreme—considering the decade that passed between the original and the rewrite—I think we can look at this lesson of mine as an example of a writer’s first draft going into the initial editing stages. There’s a lot to do. And some of it can be overwhelming. (As an extra, you can check out a map of the calendar to show just how much changed from the first version to the second version. Blue stands for Daniel’s POV and pink stands for Serena’s POV. I even included the new split between November Rain, part one, and November Snow, part two. The new one will now be on the Extras page instead of the old one.)

As an extra, here's a comparison on how the calendar changed. Blue stands for Daniel's POV, Pink is Serena's POV, and I included the new split.

As an extra, here’s a comparison on how the calendar changed. Blue stands for Daniel’s POV, Pink is Serena’s POV, and I included the new split.

When I was eleven and first writing it, I knew I wanted nature to play a significant role, but I didn’t want to be a cliché. I didn’t want it to rain when characters were crying, and I didn’t want it to thunderstorm when something bad was about to happen or when someone was angry. It sounds simple enough, but it’s very tempting to allow the weather to foreshadow the characters when you’re trying to make it important. But I wanted it to be symbolic on its own, like an addition to the antagonist being the city rather than one political leader. The question was how to go about it.

I didn’t have a clue, and I remembered being very frustrated as I tried different things over and over. I even recall talking to my dad about how I couldn’t get the weather to feel natural. And that’s when he pointed something out that is so simple I couldn’t believe it never occurred to me

Why not just use natural weather?

So, I did. (Thanks, Dad.)

That year, when November rolled around, I recorded exactly what happened, and I went through the book and added it in. Amazingly, it worked out perfectly, and nature gave me the perfect symbol without me having to force it. This is also why the full moon was on a different date in the original than it should’ve been. Even though the moon has now been changed in the rewrite, the weather has remained the same.

This wasn’t an easy task in the rewrite—keeping many elements while changing others—but it is a delight to know that my answers were, quite literally, right outside my window.

~SAT

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7 Responses to “#WW Writing Help from the World”

  1. Charles Yallowitz November 25, 2015 at 6:16 am #

    Interesting background and insight. I usually play around with the weather in my stories, but being in epic fantasy means I can goof off. Snow in the summer, rain that comes in horizontal, pixie dust clouds, etc. Very smart to examine real weather patterns. I’ll have to remember that when I get more into my real world stories.

    By the way, if you didn’t uncover when the full moon in November 2089 would occur then somebody on the Internet would do it with pompous glee. Just seems to be how it works these days.

    • Shannon A Thompson November 25, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

      Yeah! I think making up your own weather patterns can be just as difficult (but also fun). You’ll be pleased to know I fixed the full moon. It is now on the correct date, but you are also correct. Someone did point out the wrong moon in the original version (hence why I was determined to change it). Another pointed out that elections take place on even years, not odd ones, but it’s not America, so that one didn’t change. 😉
      ~SAT

  2. debyfredericks November 25, 2015 at 10:50 am #

    I’ve seen various techniques to “map” a bool, but I thought the calendar is a very interesting approach to take. You could get a thirty-day journal and put detailed notes on each day. Not only weather and POV but locations or special clues. I might have to try this myself!

    • Shannon A Thompson November 25, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

      I actually use the calendar a lot! I love it. Definitely recommended. But it was essential in this novel since it only took place in one month. That being said, most of my novels take place in a very short amount of time. I think The Timely Death Trilogy is the longest amount of time, only lasting about one and half years. If you try it out, I hope you like it!
      ~SAT

  3. kabrown4 November 25, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    This is a fascinating article about how the writing process can be problematic. I’m great you were able to resolve it, and it’s nice to hear about people who were writing so young. For the longest time I felt I was the only one who wrote such complex stories from such a young age.

    • Shannon A Thompson November 25, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article! I have found more often than not that people were writing at a young age but were maybe too fearful or too hesitant to approach it with others. That and when I was a child, there weren’t many online outlets, like there are today. I love that there are whole websites dedicated to writers now! It’s fantastic.
      ~SAT

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. November Ketchup | Shannon A Thompson - November 30, 2015

    […] Writing Help From the World: When I struggled with an element as mundane as weather, I never thought to just look outside my window. […]

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