Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sunrise, Sunset, Let it Rain

This morning, around five-twenty, I could hardly tell where I was going when I walked our dog.  Rascal doesn't like walking in the dark, but today she was in the mood for forging ahead. Wouldn't you know it, we got a few blocks away from the house when I heard a rustling in the trees, followed by rain falling right on mine and Rascal's heads. If there's one thing Rascal hates more than the dark, it's getting wet. Needless to say, we headed back.

Why was it dark today, when it hadn't been a few months ago? Well, I live in Illinois. Friday is the first day of Autumn. The sun now comes up later and sets earlier. Also, with rain in the offing, clouds obscured whatever light we might have had.

What does this have to do with writing? Well, you need to check the visibility ratio for the area and Season you're writing about before you make a flub and say it's dark when it's usually light, or vice versa. People who live in that location would definitely know the difference. You might also want to research whether or not that area is prone to draughts or heavy amounts of rainfall, since clouds can also diminish light.

If you don't have firsthand knowledge, you can ask a friend who lives there, or check the Internet.

Speaking of asking friends, How early does it get light around you these days?

Morgan Mandel

14 comments:

research papers for sale said...

Very interesting post! Thanks.

Deb Larson said...

ugh! That means summer is almost gone and I feel it was late getting started! Let's hope for an Indian Summer in Illinois!
Great reminder for writers to be aware of seasonal changes.
DL Larson

Tabitha Shay said...

What fun, was just discussing the season changes this morning...it's definitely taking longer for sunrise in Oklahoma, but hadn't paid much notice to sunset, yet. The bite of winter is in the air and I have to wonder if we're going to skip fall and go straight into cold weather. Thanks for reminding authors to to be aware of their seasons in a story and when the sun sets and rises.
Tabs

Roseanne Dowell said...

I live in OH it's the same way here. I set a portion of one of my stories in FL. My son proofread it for me. I wasn't thinking that the sun pretty much rises and sets the same times in FL as it does here no matter the season. Fortunately, he caught it.

Ginger Simpson said...

After my visit to Alaska, I'm planning to write a story based there. I definitely have to remember that the days are extremely long in summer and short in winter. I was shocked to discover 2:00 AM looks a lot like 2:00 PM. :)

Ging

Peg Brantley said...

I'm lazy. I'm a Colorado native and have never lived anywhere else. My stories are based in a fictional town right outside of Aspen.

Even with that, I've had to force myself to do some onsite research several times. It was difficult, but necessary.

Cheryl said...

Our sunrise is right around 6:30, so just before I get up to start our day. We've already received over an inch more rain this September than the average; it rained today, and the forecast looks that way until Tuesday.

I think it would be neat to track this kind of information for a year so you could plot your story out accordingly. Seasonal flubs can stick out when you're writing.

liana laverentz said...

It's 6:14 now and my sun is not up yet, but I've been working since 5:30. Lucky sun, gets to sleep in :)

liana laverentz said...

When writing stories set in a different part of the world or country, check out these sunrise/sunset links...

http://www.sunrisesunset.com/usa/

http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneYear.php

http://www.srrb.noaa.gov/highlights/sunrise/sunrise.html

V.R. Leavitt said...

Wonderful post...it starts getting light around 6:45 - 7ish around here, (Orlando, Florida). At 6am it's still pitch black.

During the day it's still 90 degrees too! That'll be ok come February though when we're still able to go outside and freeze. :-)

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

California it's the same, shorter days, longer nights--but where I live, the Central Valley still really hot during the day, near 100 some days.

I love to insert weather in my mysteries, fog when I'm writing about the coast, lots of rain when I'm writing about the mountains, and sometimes snow.

Marilyn

Rebecca Camarena said...

Right now, I'm getting up before the sun and that's totally not fair. After all, what person in their right mind wants to crawl out from under the covers in the dark of night?

terri.forehand said...

Great reminder to check the details of your setting. The reader will not be fooled.

And to Ginger, I went to Alaska in August and have not recovered.The State is so beautiful and I still feel like I am there when I view our photos. I too want to write something centered there.

Terri
Blog editor for Stories for Children Publishing

Farrah from The Book Faery Reviews said...

I hadn't really thought too much about that but it makes complete sense. Thanks for today's tip Morgan.