Hello, December

According to the news (not to mention just looking outside) we still have no snow! For those who enjoy snow, I'm sorry if my glee is too much. I enjoy not having snow, especially after the winter from last year.

Niagara Falls, 2014
As I enjoy my snowless December, I consider how weather affects communities. Here in the Great Lakes region (especially on the Eastern ends of the lakes) we have a weather system called Lake Effect in which the lakes produce their own weather, primarily in the form of snow. Lake Effect is the result of the geography which in turn affects the area around them. For example, the areas closer to the lakeshores, both Erie and Ontario, have a mild climate perfect for vineyards. Even a half-hour inland, and vineyards are impossible.

If you're writing science fiction or fantasy (especially stories in which you have to build a world), the geography plays an important role, though often unseen. We know the logical ones - mountains have snow, tropics have heat, but how do those two elements affect the area around them? Mountains, like lakes, can create their own weather. Most often providing a milder climate at their base during the summers, but also providing more snowfall in the winter. Depending on how tall the mountains are, they can even form a barrier often described as the wet and dry sides of the mountain.

How does the weather affect the cultures and landscapes? Is water a valuable commodity or a necessary evil? As you edit your novels from NaNoWriMo, consider the weather in the story. It might add some interesting layers.

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