Elaine Roberts tackles the dilemma of writing about the four seasons.
When the subject of the four seasons and our writing was raised, I immediately had the urge to burst into song and sing very high pitched like Frankie Valli, but not only does that show my age, but also most people won’t know who Frankie Valli is. So I controlled my urge and threw myself into my dilemma; what was I going to write about? My mind went blank. I didn’t want to write about the obvious things that we take into account in our writing, for example, clothing, food, weather and seasonal deadlines.
So I asked the question, what do the four seasons mean to me, other than the song “Walk like a Man”?
With all seasons there are distractions, which can easily take us away from our writing. In the spring and summer we would probably prefer to be enjoying our gardens and all the work that entails. When the sun comes out it lifts our spirits and we are more likely to be active than in the autumn and winter. The dark mornings and evenings often have a psychological effect; it always feels like it’s in the middle of the night. Then of course there’s the lead up to the Christmas festivities, which always takes up a lot of head space, planning and organising, especially with a large family. Then there are holidays and visitors, which can obviously happen all the year round.
The four seasons are an age from birth to death, whether it’s nature or people, and
this is something we all write about. With every season of our ages we are gathering experiences that will influence our writing; it gives us our own voice and style. It enables us to make our characters real and for the reader to have empathy for them. It would be interesting to know whether we write about older characters and maybe mature situations the older we get. Are we more likely to write historical novels because we have a greater understanding of history than maybe we do of the modern times and technology? Most writers are people watchers; therefore they pick up body language and speech patterns, all of which give depth and realism to how characters would behave and talk.
As soon as we decide to put our characters into a plot, we have to know all of their history, the seasons of their lives, what makes them laugh and cry. Most of which does not appear in a story, but it determines their actions, reactions and the way they talk. It is hard work getting to know your characters and they often take on a life of their own, but it’s also fun.
With “Santa Claus is coming to town” belting out from the radio, I would like to wish all our readers a very happy Christmas and an exciting 2015.