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
SUMMER OF ’69 by ELIN HILDERBRAND
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?