I'm not a big fan of the rain. Okay, that's not exactly true. I actually like rain in-and-of itself, but I hate wet ground, and I'm not too fond of being wet unless I'm in the shower and the water is warm. Mostly, though, I just hate wet feet.
It's raining here this week. You know what that means? It means taking the dog out in the rain. Because she has to go out; although, my daughter has plans for a room inside the house with grass and trees and stuff so that we can just let the dog in there when she needs to go out. That way, the dog gets to go out while still staying inside, and no one has any mess to clean up, because it will be a nature room, and poop can be in nature. I'm not going to dissuade her.
At any rate, it hasn't rained much this year, so, although the dog has had to go out in light drizzles or misty rain, she hasn't had to go out in actual rain. Until today. She did not like it.
Of course, she doesn't understand when she's inside that it's raining outside, so she was very excited to get to go out, as she usually is. Until I opened the front door. She stood there. She looked up at me. She stood there. She never just stands there. I said, "Let's go." She looked up at me and, then, stepped slowly outside. Of course, this just put her on what passes for our front porch, so she wasn't out in the rain yet. She dashed over to the dry strip under the eaves of the garage and made her way down to the driveway. At that point, there was nothing dry left, so we ventured out into the rain.
She acted like I was punishing her. If only she could understand that I wasn't having any fun either. But we managed to slog our way over to the creek path. That was actually kind of nice. Well, not for her, but I like to watch the water, especially when it's high. I also like to take note of the various things floating in it. Today was nothing exciting, though, just a large cup from some fast food place. She didn't take long before she took care of her business, especially when compared to how long she usually takes, and we went home.
The time out in the rain, though, did make me think about weather and how it's used in story telling. How it's used to set mood, raise tension, act as metaphor. These are all good things. Except... well, except when they're not. There was a time when "it was a dark and stormy night" was not cliche, but you can't use that anymore (and you can probably blame Snoopy for that).
That may be the most difficult thing when using weather in stories. Avoiding the cliche. For instance, if I have to read one more time about a kid being lost out in a stormy night... or, you know, watch it in a TV show... I don't know. Do kids not get lost unless it's a dark and stormy night? Because that's what I'm coming to believe. "Uh oh... it's a dark and stormy night. We should go look for lost children."
The main thing is to allow the weather to be natural. I mean that in that it should fit the area your story is set in. I also mean that in that you shouldn't fill your story with sunshine and flowers until you get to the climax and, literally, out of the blue, have a horrible storm. With lost kids.
Weather can be a great tool. Rainy days can drive kids inside until they need to be rescued by and from man-sized cats in tall hats. They can also drive parents crazy until they have to send kids out to play in the "imagination room." Or lead them to discover enchanted wardrobes. It can wreck ships and snow your characters in. Just keep it believable.