‘Tis the Season

By: Aryanne Ferguson

Hey, Reader. How do you decide the season when your story takes place? Example. In the past week, it’s snowed 3 times where I live, and yet I can count on one hand the number of stories I’ve written set in winter. Of those stories, I can think of one which took full advantage of the season, describing a cold night at a rural train station where a girl pleads with her brother.  As I write this blog post, fat flakes drift down. Then the wind kicks in and the angle of the snowfall changes. I want to remember this – a sure sign I could write about it.

What are the differences between a summer story and a winter story? It depends on your story’s tone. You’ve probably noticed that commercials are set in spring/summer, when there’s plenty of green in the background. Watching the commercial, you associate the positive feelings of warmth with the product. Unless of course, the commercial’s goal is to jumpstart your holiday shopping, or to buy new coats for the whole family. In those cases, you can be sure of a winter setting.

As you write, try considering the use of a season to add tension. A hiker faces more dire circumstances when she loses the trail in January, versus during a balmy night in May. A character forgetting to pick his girlfriend up at the bus stop will cause different reactions on a rainy spring afternoon versus a crisp fall morning. Using the seasons can make your readers despair along with the hiker as the temperature slides towards zero, or as annoyed as the forgotten girlfriend with no umbrella, and her boyfriend’s not answering his phone.

Have you enjoyed a story where the seasons are used to their full advantage? Check out My Old True Love by Sheila Kay Adams for a treat.

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