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It is, in my opinion, a difficult task to describe certain weather conditions (e.g., an overcast sky, the falling rain, the storm, the rising of the rainbow, the falling of the snow, etc.) effectively. Indeed, I feel that many contemporary writers resort to clichéd expression to handle such situations without fully conveying their emotions as they intended. My question is:

What are some good resources (i.e., particularly well-written passages or poetry, scientific accounts, or essays on literary technique, etc.) that could help in mastering these kind of descriptions?

  • This search may be of use to you: Describing Weather – CLockeWork Mar 12 '15 at 9:05
  • Go outside. Take something with you which allows you to take notes. Observe the weather. Write down notes about it. Write down images, metaphors, sensations, and literal descriptions. Go back inside and polish your notes. Repeat until satisfied. – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Mar 12 '15 at 11:14
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I suffer with the same problem, and I hate resorting to using a cliché when I'm writing.

I don't have any examples of resources for you, but I can give you some of my techniques for dealing with the weather.

I try to avoid weather descriptions as much as possible, because each weather condition falls into around 3 standard descriptions (mild/howling/biting wind etc.)

I tend to have characters experience weather in juxtaposition to how it should make them feel, like listening to raindrops from inside and it soothing them, rather than rain usually being an inconvenience. This instantly moves you away from the generic descriptions.

I would suggest simply mentioning what the condition is, and go more into a description of how it makes the character feel.

You can let the reader infer from context what the weather is like from this.

If the weather description is important, you could always try personifying the weather, and introduce it as you would another character.

This opens you up to a different host of possibilities, and thinking outside the box for how to describe it.

For example, you could talk about how the wind tries to sneak under layers of clothing, giving it a snakelike and predatory feel.

Or you could speak about the hot relentless sun (a little clichéd) like it's a stalker, following your character through the streets and not allowing them to get a breath.

Fair weather could be compared to an old acquaintance, taking a stroll together and reminiscing about old times.

Overall, think of different ways to approach the description, because it's hard to overcome the clichés. They are clichés for a reason.

Hope this helps!

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I would recommend Melville, particularly his descriptions of various events out at sea. He is a superb describer of action.

With respect to weather, connecting it to the familiar is one method. Metaphors will be helpful here. You are correct in wanting to avoid clichés.

Simplicity is your friend here.

Consider this passage from Marquez, "The sky crumbled into a set of destructive thunderstorms."

It tells us all we need to know. More laborious descriptions of weather have to be done carefully because at some point, the reader loses the picture. The more specific your weather becomes, the less likely they are to follow (if wowing the reader is your priority).

First, what basic type are we dealing with. Snow, rain? I tend to build weather descriptions by emphasizing throughout.

The snow filled the air like ash. It was so cold, the windows cracked. The rain had the house feeling like a car wash.

And of course it's difficult because weather is non-human, and it's easy to forget the humanity is most important.

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