Unexpected Characters #1 – The Weather

Obviously, all stories have a whole pyramid of characters, ranging from the very important to those who only get mentioned once or twice.

Now, I bet after reading that last sentence, your first thought was about people… or at least people-like creatures. In Jaspa’s Journey 4: The Hermit of Kennecott, for example, the most important character is obviously Jaspa himself. The least important are background characters, who nonetheless add colour and life to a scene, like the group of nameless Bearses gathered around the fire in a stormy Kennecott.

Kennecott on a winter’s night (photo: Garret Suhrie – garretsuhrie.wordpress.com)

But not all characters in a story can walk and talk.

Take the weather, for example.

While the weather is simply a background detail in many books, this is most definitely not the case in Jaspa’s Journey. The weather is an integral part of the story, and often has a key role to play. After all, imagine how much more the rain (for example) would affect you, if you were only 10 centimetres tall!

In The Hermit of Kennecott, the weather presents all sorts of additional difficulties and challenges to Jaspa and his friends, as they attempt to find the all-important hermit mentioned in the title.

For instance, they would never have met the twins, if they hadn’t unknowingly used the Ground Squirrelses’ camp to shelter from the rain after being soaked for days.

And Jaspa’s crossing of the Kuskulana Bridge would have been far less dramatic on a dry and sunny day with no wind.

The Kuskulana Bridge under threatening skies (photo: Rich Meyrick)

Last but not least, their trek up to the Bonanza Mine would have been so much easier if they hadn’t had to fight their way through a blizzard. Although their journey back down would have been a lot slower!

Weather closing in at the Bonanza Mine (photo: Rich Meyrick)

The take home message is this: don’t always dismiss the weather as an unimportant piece of background information in a story. Sometimes it can end up playing a much bigger part in the outcome of an adventure than you might first suspect.

In fact, in The Hermit of Kennecott, you could say the weather is a character in its own right.

The above post is taken from this month’s Fiction Meets Fact Newsletter. To receive future newsletters in their entirety (together with a Free Jaspa’s Journey Booklet including the short story Freefall over London and Jaspa’s Journey images to colour), click on the image below.

Expand the minds of your strong middle grade readers by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first four – The Great Migration, The Pride of London, Jaspa’s Waterloo, and The Hermit of Kennecott – are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.

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