I’m typing this in my armchair, looking out at the snow – it’s a blizzard out there! – and listening to a classical music playlist I have on Spotify. It’s my go-to music for almost everything I write that isn’t novel specific. It also seems apt for the winter weather outside – it lends the cars sliding on the Clyde Tunnel exit a certain grace that they lack in the metal. I can hear the wind howling but normal traffic noise is deadened by the snow. And I’m of a mind to write a horror story.
OK, part of this desire may just be procrastinating about the novel, but meteorological conditions definitely affect my writing mood. The sense of ‘otherness’ of a snowstorm, the unusual quiet, the people who chance an excursion moving differently, the way the snow unifies the underlying structures and textures…all these things make me uneasy and that’s where horror is born.
I recently read and reviewed Strange Weather by Joe Hill. He used weather as the connection between four horror novellas and very good they were too. Many writers have used prevailing conditions as the inspiration and setting of their stories.: The Shining, The Thing, The Grapes of Wrath to name but a few. You can read an excellent New Yorker Magazine article about the weather in fiction here.
Across from us is a low block of flats and behind those, a tower block, or multi if you’re a Weegie. When the snow is at its heaviest all I can see is a ceiling light shining through one window near the top. Dark figures occasionally cross the grass, their footsteps soon disguised by more snow. If I were to ignore the occasional car and dog walker it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine oneself in a post apocalyptic Narnia.
A deserted beach when the weather is still, a deep wood with the wind howling through the canopy, a closed shop with the shutters down and the rain bouncing off the pavement -how could one think of anything but horror, eldritch evil, sand devils, unexpected items in the bagging area…
I’m off to get writing but I’d love to know how the weather affects your writing choices.
Meanwhile, it was a dark and stormy night…