Using What You’ve Got

Writing for the Seasons

  • June 10, 2019
  • Blog
  • 2 Comments

I hate to break it to you, but unless you’ve got a photographic memory, you won’t remember the details of winter if you’re writing about it in the summer. So here’s what you do.

As I said in an earlier post, take lots of pictures. But that’s not enough. Create folders for each season and begin gathering details as you live through them.

What kind of details? Everything and anything. For example:

  • What kind of clothes do your characters wear? Winter coats or shorts and tee shirts?
  • Are the trees blooming with pale green buds or full, darker leaves, or displaying a riot of color? Are they bare?
  • What kind of food is common during those times? In the summer, most people I know try to avoid cooking with their oven because it heats up the house. Street vendors carry ices, but in the fall, roasted chestnuts are sold instead.

I once read a book where a woman walked into a diner and ordered an iced tea in the middle of a snowstorm. In fact, I had to struggle to remember that it was winter in the story because the overall atmosphere made me think of the sultry hot days of the Deep South. Get your head on straight! If that perfect scene gets written but is out of place, either change the season or put the descriptions aside for a different story.

Look out your window. Open the door and breathe in the air. Listen to the sounds on the streets, near schools, and anywhere you think your story will live. Write it down, take photos or video, and keep those impressions to enrich your stories.

 

2 Comments
  • Lydia • June 10, 2019 at 5:19 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I actually keep a list of various things related to each season to help me remember what they feel like when I’m writing stories that mention the weather.

  • J. M. Levinton • June 10, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Exactly! One year I lived in a warm-weather state and in the fall, friends mailed me a package of autumn leaves. There were tiny details of the season I had forgotten even though I remembered the changing colors. Writing down what I saw and smelled made for better stories.

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