Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Season In Your Story

The last few days have blessed us with cool, crisp breezes and temperatures reminiscent of October. It's been glorious. It's no secret that I loathe summer. I'm pretty sure I have the opposite of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) as people generally understand it. More sunlight makes me depressed. For the majority of summer, I fight from falling into the black pit of despair. I'm listless, and a gray cloud hangs over me most of the time.

But when autumn comes, oh, I come alive. Pure, unadulterated joy infuses my heart. 

It's funny, then, that my love for autumn is often reflected in my stories. Stories set during the summer are harder for me to write (even if they do line up with the historical events) and my characters often gripe about the heat (what can I say? Every character does embody a few traits of the author!). Likewise, stories set in the autumn are not necessarily easier to write, but my characters enjoy the weather much more. Writing descriptions of autumn feel effortless, and the story itself feels more alive than do those set in different seasons.

But no matter what season it is in your story, for me, it almost becomes a character in itself . My last novel was set in the harsh Nebraska winter and it was a metaphor for what my main character endured. He fought against the prevailing winds of prejudice and bitterness, and it was fun to use the winter season to reflect those same attitudes. 

The novel I'm writing now, however, it set during autumn, and it's actually a lot easier for me to write since the season itself is nearly here and because it's my favorite of all four seasons. It will give me an opportunity to observe the changing weather, the leaves turning glorious shades of red and gold and brown, the scent of earth beginning to prepare
for its long, winter slumber, and use it in my story. It will give it an authenticity that might be lacking.

It's not always possible that your novel will be in the season you're currently experiencing in whatever part of the world you live in. But when those two do mesh, it's an opportunity to slow down and really take in everything that season has to offer to infuse your story with the sights, smells, and sounds occurring around you.

Weather is a big part of our world. It affects so many different things - how we dress, what we eat, our activities, how we feel. So, too, should it affect your character. 

How can you use weather in your current story? Share your ideas in the comments. 


  1. A few days ago I was walking through the gardens and enjoying the sight of the very first blossoms and daffoldils and I thought to myself: Melissa will be enjoying the onset of autumn!
    Your post got me thinking about seasons in my writing. I hadn't thought about it before, but autumn and winter and spring do feature more than summer.
    Enjoy those cooler days, Melissa :)

    1. I can't wait for October! Unfortunately, the temps for this week are very hot. UGH. I hope it doesn't last long. :)

  2. I don't think it's a secret that I, too, have "reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder." I live for long-pants-and-sweaters weather. :-)

    As for my writing, in my previous novel, the seasons were a way of showing my main character's growth. The story took place over the course of a year, and with each passing season, her interaction with her environment was a way of illustrating her education. (She was 11.)

    In my current WIP, though, the winter weather is one of the story's antagonists, one more thing the homeless protagonist has to fight in pursuit of his goal. I'm developing quite a list of synonyms for "cold" and "freezing." :-)

    1. Ilene, I love how you used the seasons to show your character's growth and how winter is an antagonist. So much we can do with weather in our stories. :)


  3. I think that is so interesting that summer bothers you. I think you are the only person who feels that way that I've met although this summer here is really getting to me. I feel trapped inside as it is so hot and muggy and filled with bugs! I can't wait for winter in Fl!

    1. I used to LOVE summer when I was a kid. But I honestly can't remember the last time I enjoyed it. :) There is no way I could live in Florida. I would be miserable!

  4. Autumn is my favourite season. It is my New Year. Description is also my favourite type of writing so using the weather to evoke a sense is a technique I incorporate as much as possible

    1. The temps dropped yesterday to about 70 degrees. I left the window open last night and slept like a baby!


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