Stormy details: the Effects of Weather in Fantasy Stories
With the storm raging outside, I considered the effects of the weather in fantasy books. First of all, weather has practical impact on a story. It creates a setting and sometimes drives the plot.
In my own upcoming novel Fire Prince, weather plays an important part in the plot. As in medieval times, warfare is avoided during the winter months. Just try getting your horses and siege weapons through snow and freezing temperatures. If it could be avoided, it usually was. Besides the effect on traveling, the availability of food on the land during the warmer months, made provisioning much easier.
For that same reason, there was often a lull in medieval wars around harvest times. As peasants often comprised the main body of an army, not having them haul in the harvest could mean starvation in the coming winter. Bad planning, surprise tactics or plain need could aways make an exception to the rules but in wintertime, most warlords would be cosy and warm in their castles and towns.
Weather also plays a part in setting the mood of a scene or story. Sunshine makes for happy travel but there is nothing like a good downpour to dampen the spirits. Howling winds make for stormy clashes and no horror scene is complete without the obligatory thunder and lightning.
Have you used weather effects in your writing, either to set the mood or as an actual plot device?
Happy writing and storming!