Hi SEers! Denise here to talk about how the four seasons can set the stage and mood for a story. This post will cover winter and spring, and part two will continue with summer and fall.
It depends where you live in the world when you get your winter, but unless you live in the tropics, you get some cold. Even in Hawaii, they pull out their sweaters in the winter months. Not everyone gets snow, but at some point, we all get rain.
BOOKS SET IN WINTER
- The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
- The Shining by Stephen King
- Trapped by Michael Northrup
- Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
I like to have snow in my stories. It adds tension to the plot if you can’t get out of the house and are cut off from the world. I use my personal experience of having ridden out many snowstorms without power, road closures, a dead landline, or no cell signal.
Winter can signal hibernation for bears and humans. That makes it a perfect season setting for thrillers and horror set at home or inside. The backdrop is dark and dreary, with the threat of storms and conditions hard to survive outside.
It is also a time of celebration. When families come together, and beautiful lights warm our hearts. Trees are dressed in their finest decoration, and there is an abundance of food and gifts flowing to our loved ones. Here, giving and sharing love can be a theme for a story. Still, winter usually comes into play, trapping a couple together or stopping someone from getting to their holiday destination.
Traveling is different in storms, either snow or rain. There can be floods or personal survival in the elements. Roads may be impassable, or airlines may cancel flights.
The character may have to prepare for a house full of guests for the holidays or find themselves alone. In both situations, they can be trapped due to weather conditions, when the power goes out, or when a hospital is needed.
Celebrating a new year may be the perfect time to get engaged or arrested after a night of drinking and losing control on the frozen roads.
One thing is certain, the characters need more clothes and have to consider a coat or even gloves when going outside. The colors are darker and more muted.
While winter can be a time of depression, regrouping, reconnecting, and being alone, spring brings forth a time of renewal.
BOOKS SET IN SPRING
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
- A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
- The Beginning of Spring by Penelope Fitzgerald
- Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Spring is a time of year where stories can be attired in flowers, green hills, and chirping birds. It is a period where pastel colors and nature’s perfume can be a powerful part of the story.
It’s the most hopeful of the four seasons as life returns, especially if you live somewhere where winter created a barren landscape. Spring is an ideal setting for fantasy. A place where butterflies and fairies can roam amongst the flowers so freely. The air and gardens are full of magic.
Schools offer breaks for families to be together just like in winter, but now they can go outside without the heavy equipment needed for survival. Maybe the family gets lost in the wilderness and reconnects or helps a small, injured deer. They could also run into a bear who just woke up from hibernation doesn’t want humans in their territory.
These few months provide a setting with so many possibilities. Where roses and feelings bloom and the school year is ending—which means proms and graduations.
The stories can be set outdoors now without harming the character with winter’s icy hands. Most important, though, is nature is calling us to venture outside.
Inside, spring cleaning begins not only in the house but in the character’s mind. The personal journey makes for interesting reading.
Seasons can be another character in your story. Do you use winter or spring as a background in your writing? How does it affect your plot?