Thursday, August 30, 2012

Breaking The (Writing) Rules By Opening With The Weather

"It was a dark and stormy night." I love that line. I know, it gets quoted all the time when people talk about that ol' writing rule, the one that tells you to never open with the weather.

I think that's a stupid rule (she says while stomping her feet).

Think about it: weather carries all kind of inherent drama. As I'm riding out the remnants of Hurricane Isaac, I secretly think of all the cool stories that can come from a storm like this:

A body washes up in the flood, but autopsies show the murder was committed last year.

An evacuee goes missing, but leaves clues on her way north.

A bag of money is found in a soggy attic/bedroom wall (can you picture someone hanging hundred dollar bills out to dry, deciding what to do?)

From these examples, you can tell I'm a mystery writer. With all respect to the real-life misery disasters can bring, as a writer, I love the potential drama: hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes--why not use them to start a story? And why not open with that dark and stormy night? Seems like the perfect way to tell us there's a mystery coming...

How about you, fellow writers? Ever used the weather to bring some drama to the page?


  1. My favorite line is from a movie you may recognize as well, lol: "The night was....." It makes me smile every time! I love your humor by the way--feel free to check out mine too! :), Miss Wordy

  2. And what might a tornado reveal?

    I love using weather to heighten conflict and/or suspense. Whether it's at the beginning of the story or later. Stomping my foot in sync with yours.

  3. Stomping is fun :-) Hmmm, a tornado... A dungeon of a basement, after the house blows away? A stash of gold?

    So many stories, not enough time...


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