Monday, August 29, 2016

Writing About: Blizzards

Another disaster I highlighted in my 2015 A to Z Challenge was blizzards. Most northern states and Canada experience blizzards and snowstorms. The threat of a blizzard arises every winter in these places, so it’s not a stretch to think a fiction story set in the north during the winter may include at least a snowstorm that cancels school for a day or two, but with our current hostile weather a strong blizzard isn’t out of the question.

Now if you write a blizzard into your book it should either be a major plot or at least last for several chapters (3-4).

Image from Flickr
Blizzard over US East Coast

Here are a few things to remember if you ever write about a blizzard:

- Weather Reports

Your characters should tune into the weather every morning and night. Even if you don’t detail a whole weather report, you can have your character hear something in the background or tune in for the highlights.

- Storm Preparations

Your characters should be ready for a snowstorm with a stock of firewood, water, canned goods, blankets, and warm clothing. Snow tires and shovels are also a must. Plus, a generator since snow and ice can knock out power easily.

- Blizzard Names

Just like tropical storms and hurricanes have names, blizzards also have names. To make the storm real and to give it personification, give the storm in your story a name. You don’t even have to follow the name already selected and waiting for a storm, but come up with your own, as I did with Hurricane Sabrina in Hurricane Crimes.

- Snowfall

Describe the snow as it begins to fall and have your character watch it get higher, creeping up the porch steps, burying the mailbox, and turning everything white.

- Snowdrifts

Wind is a big factor in a snowstorm. When the wind is strong, the falling snow can be piled into drifts that can cover houses.

Image from Wikipedia
1977 Blizzard New York

- Cold

During a blizzard, endearing the cold is probably the hardest part. Even if you have a fireplace, the house is still incredibly cold. You have to bundle up and move around to stay warm. Have your characters do the same.

- Boredom

The next biggest hurdle after dealing with the cold is overcoming boredom. When you’re trapped in a house with no electricity and you have to wait days for it to stop snowing, cabin fever sets in. Card games and board games are popular time killers. Reading, writing, and drawing by candlelight (or electric lanterns) are also activities that’ll take up time. Have your character struggle to find ways to take up the time. And if they’re not alone, this would be a good opportunity to share family moments or let new lovers get to know each other more.

- Digging Out

Once the blizzard passes, it comes time for the digging out process. This is never fun or easy. It takes a lot of time and effort to dig a path from the door to the driveway. Then, of course, the driveway has to be shoveled. But you won’t be going anywhere until snowplows clear the streets. And when it gets warm, lets not forget all of the melting snow...flooding.

Image from Flickr

Blizzards can add excitement to a winter story and give your characters a chance to bond. You will also have fun bonding with them while you write these scenes.

QUESTIONS: Have you ever been in a blizzard? Tell me about it. Is there a detail not in this post that is important? Share it.

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