I’ve written quite a few blog posts about psychology for writers. I’ve rounded them all up for you here in one convenient place so that you can browse at your leisure!
- Psychology of Uncertainty: Better the Devil You Know
- Psychology for Writers
- When Characters are in Conflict with Themselves: Psychology & Folk Wisdom
- Weather for Writers
- What Sadistic Sob Would Do That?
- Characters’ Inaction Speaks Louder than Words
Do you have any suggestions for additional posts or questions about psychology for writers? Let me know!
Just as characters affect one another in your writing, they are also affected by the weather around them. In fact, just like people do with the setting, think of weather as a character. Keep in mind that weather and climate are two different things and will affect characters in different ways. Climate tends to affect lifestyle, social structure, and culture, whereas weather affects daily choices. There are myriad ways weather can affect your characters. If you can think of more to add to my list, I’d love to hear them!
This can sometimes be overdone, but think of the symbolism of some weather forms. Is your character confused or unsure of something? You could make it foggy outside. Is the plot building up to a big climactic scene? Maybe a storm is approaching as well.
This could apply both to the mood of the piece or the character’s mood. Weather could either complement or contradict how the character is feeling, e.g., if they’re upset the weather could either be stormy or ironically sunny. Depending on which it is, it could deepen the character’s mood. After all, long periods of darkness may result in moodiness or depression. The build up to a storm can increase irrational behavior and sensitivity to pain.
Weather can affect health in subtle or extreme ways. A walk in the rain could lead to anything from a minor cold to pneumonia. Take hypothermia, for example: you don’t need to be in freezing conditions to develop that condition. “An unfit person in wet clothes can be hypothermic in temperatures as mild as 15oC (60oF). A hypothermia victim is often confused, and can be the last to be aware of their state,” writes expert Candida Spillard.
Even a small turn or change in weather can lead to a turn or change in plot or characters’ movements. Weather is a huge factor in decisions people make throughout the day. For example, if it’s raining, fewer people will be outside, which could be a way for there to be fewer witnesses in, say, a plot involving murder.
Do you have more examples to add to this list? Let me know in the comments section! And remember: depending on where your character lives, the climate (and weather) will vary based on season and location. Do your research!
4 Physical violence or the threat thereof—e.g., punching the wall or throwing things. This doesn’t settle a disagreement, it just stops the expression of it, leaving the threatened party to stew silently—and perhaps plot revenge.
What about pets as a source of conflict?
The Emotional Upside to Owning a Pet
Other Bits that Might Come in Handy
- Cat donors must be 1 yr old and at least 10 lbs
- Dogs must be 1 yr old, at least 50 lbs
- Both: no blood born diseases, no condition requiring chronic medication except NSAIDS, hypothyroidism, or meds for flea/tick/heart worm
- Bruce Lee (the dog donor pictured) is 6 yrs old, has been a donor for 18 mos., and donates more than 6 times per yr. He’s a universal donor, like Type O for humans.
It’s never right to lie… unless you’re a writer. If you’re pulling your writing from real life, you mustn’t be bound too much by reality–e.g., just because someone said something that way doesn’t mean it’s a good way to say it. Just because it really happened doesn’t mean it’s interesting.
Furthermore, just because it happened in 1964 doesn’t mean you can’t set it in 1934–and vice versa. Of course, if it is something famous, like the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, you can’t move it around too much, unless you are writing sci-fi or magical realism. But if you have a story about a great uncle who was married five times (that the family knows about), there is no reason you can’t write about such a character in current time.
Similarly–with certain obvious exceptions–just because the actor was a male doesn’t mean you can’t attribute the action to a female. Ditto parents and grandparents, siblings and cousins.
Bottom line: Be flexible when it comes to reality.