One of the parts I like best about starting a new book is choosing the location where my story will be set. Local traditions, distinctive scenery, and quirky bits of historical lore can all be used to enhance the plot and bring life to your characters. Layering and interweaving them together or using symbolism to enhance the plot is pure fun for me. Choosing the right season for your story is another fun exercise. My latest book, Love Notes, starts just about this time of year, when late summer / autumn is turning to winter. The conclusion of Hope Anderson and Tommy Love’s story falls on Christmas Eve with a tender carol about hope, joy, peace and love. Maybe that’s why I’ve been thinking about autumn and the images it brings to mind.
But first, I’m going to backtrack a bit. I have to admit that autumn is my second favorite season. My bed and breakfast, The Blue Belle Inn, is named after a spring flower, and painted in springtime colors, so you can probably guess what my favorite season is.
To me, spring is a season of hope, and new beginnings. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t start Love Notes in the spring. Because for Hope and Tommy, certain things had to come to an end – die – before any new growth could occur. Dreams, self, old business.
I love spring, when the first blossoms start to poke out of the brown, colorless, still-half-frozen ground.
Spring has humble beginnings, and finishes with a truly glorious display.
Fall, on the other hand, is slow and mellow. It sneaks up on you. Why is it that we think summer will never end? I mean, we know colder weather is coming. Fall is about denial.
Fall is the season of being finished, pleased with yourself, satisfied and content. Fall is the time of year when the fruits of your labors are seen to completion.
Now I sound like a farmer’s daughter, which I am.
Fall is nature’s last hurrah.
Fall is frisky squirrels scurrying frantically about, getting ready for winter.
Are your characters driven – under a tight deadline? If so, maybe fall is their time.
Fall is yellow, orange and red… exactly what we expect, most of the time. But fall is also every color of the rainbow.
Fall is full of surprises.
Fall is hazy nights, full of dust and chaff, and beautiful sunsets.
If fall is hazy, summer is lazy. The time when we go on vacation, take siestas, and stop to smell the roses.
Summer can bring stormy weather.
Summer is unsettling, volatile. Things can blow up in a hurry.
Summer can be crazy.
Summer can be relaxed. Sweet. Wet. Wild.
Summer is a blaze of glory. Hot and humid. A time when things grow and burst into color. Everything is at it’s best in the summertime.
Summer is the perfect time to lean back and enjoy a day of basking in the sun or relaxing on a porch swing.
Summer is sentimental.
Summer is a time when I take nothing for granted, because I know it won’t be long before…
Fall. And fall is fleeting. The inevitable frost kills things, makes things colorless and grey.
And fall, after all, leads to winter. Winter… it’s icy cold. If you’re not careful, it will freeze your little tush off. The tip of my nose is always chilly in the winter.
Winter is a time of desolation. Isolation. Winter is beautiful, even majestic, in it’s own way, but so frigid and unyielding.
Crisp, clear. Blustery, blue.
Merry, dear. Winter has its own set of wishes, its own brittle warmth.
Which season is your favorite? What time of year were you born in? Have one or more seasons impacted your life? After all, we’re all characters living out a story line. Wild Rose of Scotland, the book I’m working on now, starts in the spring when the rhododendrons are in bloom. But there’s a long, hot, oppressive summer in store for Rose before she finally feels the graceful acceptance of fall.