WRITING AND THE SEASONS PART 2

Hi SEers! Denise here with Part Two of talking about writing and the seasons. Today I’ll finish with summer and fall. If you missed Part One, here is the link.

Summer means a lot of things, but what comes to mind is school vacation, barbecues, swimming, and hot weather.

BOOKS SET IN SUMMER

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

SUMMER OF ’69 by ELIN HILDERBRAND

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Jaws by Peter Benchley

Summer is a fantastic setting for a budding new romance. A character can meet someone at a beach, on vacation, or at an outdoor music festival. Is it temporary or something that can bloom?

Summer is when people go camping, some in crowded campgrounds and others deep into the woods. One possibility brings conflict with surrounding campers with loud music at night or stealing your supplies. Being away from civilization has risks like a wolf pack, rabid skunk, and personal injury.

Serial killers can watch for someone outside trying to enjoy the warm weather and seasonal fun. They could be in the woods and run across a couple or find easy entry into open windows, tents, or unlocked doors.

In a beautiful tropical setting, a hurricane can change a moment of peace into finding a safe place to ride it out. What about an earthquake and a possible tsunami? Summer storms and weather can be as powerful as winter and just as deadly. Being lost somewhere in triple-digit temperatures with no water becomes a story of survival, especially if the character runs across a rattlesnake or a poisonous insect. Then there are the fierce fires that can take down an entire town and way of life with no notice.

Summer also brings to mind ice cream, the fair, and lazy days watching the clouds float by. Stories can take on a nostalgic flavor. A day out on the lake in a new fishing boat? That day of fun can be a blessing or disaster. Of course, no matter what a character is doing, they are usually in shorts, sandals, and a bathing suit, unless at work. The colors are brighter and more cheerful.

When the leaves change and the nights get cooler, summer disappears into fall.

BOOKS SET IN FALL/AUTUMN

Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie

Haunted House Murder by  Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis & Barbara Ross

Practical Magic by  Alice Hoffman

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Fall is a time of year that I look forward to with all the possibilities that arrive with it. When the cooler weather starts and leaves are changing colors, we are blessed with the abundance of our harvest. Plus, Halloween is coming, and attention turns to ghosts and all things scary.

A storyline can benefit from this season’s time of change. The characters might travel through the seasonal beauty and a car breaking down in a town where they find what’s been missing from their lives. Or perhaps this town isn’t what it seems, and monsters can run freely through your stories.

With all the abundance, thought might turn to prepare for the colder days to come. Towns offer festivals with good food while nature decorates the landscape with red, orange, and gold like a beautiful sunset. The summer brightness dissipates into a glowing splendor in the environment and our attire.

I find this a time of year when there is much to look forward to, like spring. It can be spent outdoors on sunny days taking in the beauty and change. The rains increase or start depending on where you live and can add a mood to the scene and words, especially when writing a scary story with Halloween in mind.

With the approaching holidays that start on Halloween for me, the characters can dread seeing their family or have no one to share them with. It’s a good time to explore family conflict as the nights get longer. The food is richer in the colder months than when our meals were lighter and barbecued in those warmer summer days. Cinnamon, apples, and pumpkin are on baker’s lists. All these things can trigger sadness or joy, which can always be explored with this fall setting.

The four seasons have a lot to offer a story. They can dictate where the characters are or what they are doing because of the weather and holiday celebrated. The environment adds another layer to what a character is already dealing with and may make them put everything aside to survive. I enjoy using fall and winter as a setting when it comes to horror or mystery stories. There’s nothing better than the flowers in spring or the beaches in summer when a romance is blooming.

Do you have a favorite season to set your stories in? How does it change what your characters do?

59 thoughts on “WRITING AND THE SEASONS PART 2

  1. Pingback: WRITING AND THE SEASONS PART 2 – Jackanori, (MPD)

    • Yes the seasons can certainly bring that extra depth, Robbie. A war fought in good weather doesn’t compare to doing it in a winter storm for what the characters endure.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, awash with seasonal ideas and possibilities. I like to set my stories at the cusp of spring. That way if the story calls for it, I can throw the characters into a late snowstorm or let them enjoy a field of daffies:)
    And speaking of snowstorms…Glad things are getting better on your end.
    scoxoxoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sandra 🙂 That is a fun time where winter still visits but the flowers are making an appearance too. Seasons can certainly influence a story. Yes, getting much better and still finding a way to enjoy it. Xoxo

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  3. I loved Part I and now here I am finally making it to Part II. Great question, which season do I most like placing my characters? One of my books, Twin Desires, is set in the Bay area in the winter, but not cold winter – RAINY winter where a big rainstorm sets the characters up for challenges. My other book, The Right Wrong Man, is set in the fall (in Boston) and in summer-like settings in the Caribbean. I hadn’t thought when I wrote the book how the season made a difference in the story, but looking back at it now, I realize it definitely does. Thanks for this insight. Brilliant. The book I’m working on now, As Beautiful as a LIe, is set in the Spring. Ahhh, hope!

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  4. Sorry to be late to the party Denise! So much so it’s a new year already, haha!

    I love the heat and summer, so it’s great to write characters during that time. Winter can be cumbersome but I’ve managed to write stories in it, and in every season for that matter. My preference will be summer if I choose.
    Hope you’re enjoying the first few days of 2022 so far. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that comments are coming in two different years 😉
      Summer has many advantages for stories with the option of doing a lot of it outside. It is fun to try to use all seasons in different ways, but like you I have my favorite too, winter or fall. It fits the mood I’m looking for. But still there is a lot to be said for sitting on a beach on a warm summer day and seeing what happens.
      Thank you, Eden! So far so good. I hope it’s going well for you too. Xo

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  5. I am late in reading and responding to this most thought-provoking topic. I had not thought about how seasons impact a story before, but they most certainly do.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with a variety of books.

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    • Thank you, Karen. They are fun to weave into a story. I’m especially fond of using the winter season, since I can use personal experience 🙂

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  6. I like reading spooky stories set in winter. People are usually isolated and far from help because of a blizzard or something. It makes everything scary. But I like writing stories set in a hot summer month or a dry fall month because nature sounds different then. The soft greenery that mutes everything in spring gives way to crackles and whispers. Fun post, Denise!

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    • I love reading and writing those spooky stories set in winter. It is very isolating when cut off from the world. It is a silent season but you are so right about the sounds of the dry seasons. They do crackle and whisper as the ground grows thirsty. There are so many possibilities to explore in all the seasons. I will be expanding to include them all this year. Thanks, Priscilla:)

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  7. This is a fun post with lots of great ideas for setting the scenes of a story according to the seasons. It’s interesting because some writers might not put much thought into seasonal settings. There’s a lot to consider. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Thanks, Beem 🙂 I tend to use snow storms more often only because I know how isolating it can be, but sweltering heat can put other challenges on the characters too. I noticed those small details in a story and it draws me in more when I can smell the freshly cut lawn or feel the chill of a snow storm.

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  8. I like to bounce from one season to another when I write because weather can add to the mood and feel of a book. In my Jazzi mysteries, the main characters flip houses so they try to have all of the outside work done before the weather gets too bad to put on a new roof, etc. They’re grateful to work indoors when it’s bitter cold. And they melt when they work outdoors in miserably high heat. Plus, certain holidays go with different weather, and most family reunions/picnics are in summer. It’s fun to change it up.

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    • I can see how fixing up the houses to flip would be effected by the weather. That would add to the tension and stop progress. The rain or heat would have different outcomes. Then the holidays and perhaps lack of supplies or labor would play into it. It is fun to bring that in and change it up. Thank you, Judi!

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    • Thank you, Sally 🙂 I agree about Christmas and spring. There have only been a few stories where I had to go back and add in the time frame and season, usually I know when it’s taking place and how it effects the story. Hugs back

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  9. You’ve certainly made me think about the seasons in the settings of my work in progress! The heavy humidity and oppressive summer heat we experience in our state can certainly play a role in a good thriller. Sometimes summer looks better from the perspective of a cold, miserable winter, and the chill of winter and fresh snow seems refreshing from the sweltering summer humidity. The reality of each shapes the way characters think and react, doesn’t it? Great post, Denise!

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    • Thanks, Patty 🙂 You can sure do a lot with that humidity and heavy heat in a story. Especially if they are stuck outside in it or the power is down. You make a good point that reading about summer in the freezing winter is a nice change, as well as reading about winter in a heatwave. It does change how the character will act and dress in different situations depending on whether they are desling with heat or ice or something inbetween. Plus, adding in all the senses the seasons trigger sure adds to the story and rhe characters reality for sure.

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  10. I seem to set most of my books in summer, probably because I’m most drawn to that season myself. But I’ve also done a lot with autumn and have written both a novel and short-story heavily theme for Halloween.
    I also love a good summer storm. I’m drawn to books that use weather as a plot-element. It can add so much to a story.
    Another enjoyable post, Denise!

    Liked by 3 people

    • There is so much to use in the summer. There are those warm nights to explore and run into unexpected creatures or a night swim at the lake between love interests. Halloween offers a lot and fall can be hot, raining, or snowing, which gives a lot of play in the setting. I will slow down my reading to enjoy a great written weather setting in a story. It really adds that extra layer. Thank you, Mae 🙂

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  11. Denise, thanks for this insightful post with lots of ideas for incorporating the atmospherics of the seasons into our stories. You’ve reminded us that nothing sets the stage like a good weather description – “it was a dark and stormy evening . . .”

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    • Thank you, Maura Beth 🙂 It really does set the set if we can imagine where the character is and what they are seeing or feeling. They could be standing in a field of flowers or huddled inside their house in one of my favorites a dark and stormy night.

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  12. Excellent post, Denise. You’ve given me much to reflect upon, as I don’t think I’ve brought the seasons into my stories as much as I could have. Thank you for showing how the seasons can enrich our stories. 😊

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    • Thank you, Gwen 🙂 I think I’ve brought all the seasons into my poetry but tend to focus more on winter and fall in stories. I’m going to try to use spring and summer more. There is a lot to use to enrich our stories, I agree!

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  13. I think I’ve set too many tales during the Fall, and am likely to keep doing it. I’m working on one during a major storm event right now. I’m also working on a space opera, and try to change up the seasons on different planets.

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    • I tend to do the same thing, Craig with fall and winter. It’s fun to play with early surprise storms. What a great idea to change uo the weather between planets, it will really stand out where they are from that.

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  14. I love this post, Denise. While I have intentionally set books in certain seasons, I never stopped to think about how we can weave in the elements of weather to create suspense and tension. Lately, I’ve been thinking of stories set during the fall of the year. Especially with Halloween, it seems the perfect time for ghost fiction. On the other hand, the fall festivals and activities can lead to more family-type stories.

    Great post!

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  15. It’s interesting how the various seasons inspire different types of writing. Fall is my favorite time of year and I love incorporating it into my stories. But at the same time, as you say, spring is a time for a budding romance, new beginnings, or new adventures. I have enjoyed this series and love the books you’ve chosen to emphasize each season. Thank you for sharing, Denise!

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