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There’s a 100% chance of weather today, tonight, and tomorrow

November 4, 2012

What writer-type stuff do you want for Christmas (or your holiday of choice)? Let me know. We’re compiling a Holiday Gift Guide for publication in early December. 

In Looking for Rachel Wallace, Robert B. Parker’s Spenser decides he knows where Rachel Wallace is–she’s been kidnapped and he’s looking for her, hence the title. She’s about fifteen miles away. Spenser lives in Boston, so it could be weeks until he’s able to actually drive that far.

More to the point, there’s a massive snow storm, which has made traffic literally impossible. Nothing is moving, except the snow plows, and they’re moving slowly.

Such is life in the Northeast part of the United States during the winter. From time to time, a massive low-pressure system moves up the eastern seaboard and covers everything in sight with a heavy layer of something called snow. (If you’re a native Floridian, Google it.)

Weather is a constant wherever you live. In Phoenix, Arizona, it’s not hard to predict the weather. “Okay, today’s gonna be sunny and 114. Tomorrow will be sunny and 112. I really blew today’s forecast, thought. I said sunny and 111 and it only got up to 109.”

Holy crap! Sunny and hot! No way!

In upstate New York, where I grew up, the weather is variable and a lot cloudier than we’re used to here in the Sunshine state. When I was a teenager, we had four days of heavy fog all day long one February. Amazingly enough, masses of people didn’t kill themselves and others. But summer–a good summer–can be the best weather on the face of the earth.

And Florida is marked by dry, mild winters (usually) and summers where it rains a few hours almost every day, but where the sun shines every day, too. Except if there’s a hurricane. If there’s a hurricane and you see sun, you’d better get back inside, because it’s not over yet.

You know, if there’s still an inside to get to.

In short, weather isn’t just something the nitwit on the radio screws up when you spend a mess of money on outside plans. It’s not just the thing you hold your breath about when you decide to have your Presidential convention spitting distance from the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane season.

It can be its own character. And if you’re looking for a way to increase your protagonist’s struggle, there’s always crappy weather. If you don’t believe me, try to drive out of the greater Washington, DC area on a rainy Friday afternoon.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Carol Anderson permalink
    November 4, 2012 8:33 am

    I am really enjoying your posts, Chris.

    • Chris Hamilton permalink*
      November 4, 2012 8:44 am

      Thank you, Carol.

  2. November 4, 2012 11:21 am

    Here’s a holiday gift I believe everyone should have and give to the people they love–a five-year journal. It’s a great way to record the ordinary and extraordinary days of our lives in just five minutes a day. I’ve been keeping one for seven years, and it’s amazing how much of my life I’ve recorded on those few lines every day. After having so much trouble finding durable, high quality journals at a reasonable price, I finally published my own. Here’s more info about them if anyone is interested: http://www.writingyourlife.org/five-year-journals/.

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