Weather and Time in Novel Scenes

As an author, you ought to know exactly what time it is, and also what the weather is like, at any given moment in your story. Having this information will help consistency and clarity – which translates to your world feeling more real.


Ideally, you should know the year, month, day, time of day and even exact time of day – even if you never mention it specifically. Then, as the real time scene unfolds, make sure time passes accordingly; otherwise your characters may find themselves in a perpetual midday or early evening.

Thinking about what time of day it is can also add realism to your scene, if you weave in the world
around your characters. Is the scene happening around 8am or 5.30pm? Then aren’t the streets filled with harried commuters? Or is it the middle of the afternoon? So the only people in sight are mothers with children, and retirees.

When going over longer time periods, you can still refer to specific months and seasons, or even years, to give a sense of weight to the passing of time. Saying that June turned into August anchors readers in your world a lot more than saying eight weeks passed.


As an author, the possibilities of building atmosphere and mood with the weather has probably occurred to you long before now.

Try to go beyond the basic weather options: stormy for an angry scene, rainy for a depressed scene, sunny for a happy scene, ray of sunshine through the clouds for a good realisation.

There are many different types of each of the weather conditions above, a storm can be a howling wind with needles of rain, or it could be thunderous and rolling. Rain can be coming down in violent blankets, a miserable grey drizzle, or it could even be huge dollops of life giving nourishment.

In that way, rain could represent new life and happiness, a storm could be excitement and joyful exhilaration, the sun could be oppressive and draining.

The key is to be as specific as possible, and to try to not always stick to the clichés. Breaking them can be refreshing.

As with time, consistency and awareness are important. Make sure you know what the weather is like, so you don’t accidentally have it gloomy one minute and clear blue the next.

Read more about time and weather and how they relate to theme and variations in your novel here.