Spring is coming, and though I’m happy the winter is ending in terms of weather, I also feel a little sad My prime seasons for writing are winding down and giving way to the seasons of editing.
I ran across a post on Writers On The Storm titled Using the Seasons to Fix a Blah Setting that really got me thinking (yep, you’ve been warned). When we consider the seasons of our story, how well do they correlate with the seasons we personally love, and do those times of year translate into the seasons in which we write best? (As soon as I had this post ready to go, I found Lydia Sharp’s Seasonal Writing Disorder on the same topic.)
Years ago, I read in one of Natalie Goldman’s books (possibly Writing Down the Bones) about identifying the ebb and flow of our creative process (and I still think of it in terms of fertile and fallow seasons) and saw a cycle that is very similar to my own. This student wrote for five to six months and spent the rest of the year speaking, teaching, promoting, and filling up the writing well. I felt less crazy and lazy after reading that.
Most writers work successfully year-round and produce words without trouble no matter the calendar. Some of us definitely see an uptick in production and creativity in a specific season or two throughout the year. The comments on the post mentioned above also included at least one writer who prefers fall but starts new novels in the spring.
For those who know me well, they know any conversation about the creative process has my full attention. Fascinating stuff, isn’t it? I work best from mid-fall to early spring My brain is just more “awake” during that time of year. I will know by the end of 2014 if that translates into my word counts as I’m actually keeping track for a change.
How do you select a season for a story? Twice I’ve chosen summer, which is my least favorite season of the year. I’d love to know why. Does your go-to season for stories match or contrast your personal favorite page on the calendar?
I enjoy all four seasons, so that never influences what time of it is for my character. I feel like the story dictates the season(s). My latest book is about an eleven-year-old homeless girl. Since she was battling the mean streets anyway, it just made sense to have it be during the harsh winter. I’ll have to give this more thought. Good stuff, Robyn. Thanks!
I don’t think I even mentioned seasons in the first novel of the modern era (novels written after 2007). so far, for the others, Autumn for two, Spring for one, summer for one. Three of those choices were plot driven and one was character driven. I’m looking at them again to see if I made the right choices. 🙂
Seasons don’t show up in my writing much, though that’s mostly been caused by the period of time that a story takes being short enough to never leave whatever season they started in. For the most part it seems like Spring/Fall is my default range, because the colder temperatures of Winter and the hot temperatures of Summer require additional description that I haven’t put in my work. Oh, and I capitalized the season names just to drive some English teacher nuts. 😀
I capitalize them because I worked in the academic field for years and never got course lists out of my head. 🙂
I started this new book last summer, and did a majority of the writing in November. (NaNo, of course). I tend to start new projects in the summer, because i have more time. I never really thought about what season I write the most, except I write the least during winter, only because down here in Florida, especially after January, we’re packed with people and everything, even just driving down the road, takes longer.
Love NaNo 🙂 I can imagine things get pretty crowded in Florida for at least half the year.