In my Writing About blog series feature, I have offered advice on how to write about certain characters, scenes, and even places, but not seasons. Until now! I’m starting with WINTER!
The following is a list of several things you should keep in mind if you’re writing (or plan to write) a story set in the US during winter. (You may not have to us all of these. What you’ll use will depend on your story. And I say US only because other parts of the world experience their winters during different times.)
|Picture from Pixabay|
Winter has the biggest impact on nature than any other season. In the winter, trees are bare, birds migrate south, grass turns brown and dies, and many animals hibernate.
· Plants- Christmas trees (Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, Blue Spruce, White Pine), Evergreen Holly, Poinsettias, berry bushes, and mistletoe are common plants during the winter.
2. Dropping Temperatures
If your story extends over a period of time, make sure to let the temperatures drop lower and lower. You can even throw in a day or two where the temps climb just enough to melt a little snow.
If your characters are going outside in the winter, (unless they live in Florida or the Bahamas) they won’t be stepping out in shorts and a T-shirt. Bundle up your characters in long sleeves, winter jackets, hats, scarves, gloves, and even earmuffs.
It wouldn’t be winter without snow, especially up north, so let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Describe the snow on the ground, as it falls, how it becomes slush when it gets warmer, and how sunlight reflects off it.
Just like you can bet on thunderstorms in the summer in warmer climates, you can bet on snowstorms hitting in the winter in colder climates. A blizzard can be a major part of your plot where your characters will be trapped inside together with no electricity, the cold, and buckets of boredom.
|Image from Pixabay|
Let your characters have a little fun, even if you’re writing a thriller you can still do this. Your characters do deserve a little break between all the action scenes. They can have a snowball fight (See this post for tips on that), go sledding, skiing, snowboarding, or ice fishing.
· Snow Preparedness
Show that your characters know how to deal with snow by using a snow blower, shovels, ice scrapers, and even putting chains on the tires of their cars. This can easily be done with a simple sentence.
For example: John shoveled the driveway and rechecked the chains on his tires before driving to work.
If your characters live somewhere that sees snow, a fireplace is always a nice addition to a house. You can have one of your characters read a book in front of the fireplace. You can have a family roast marshmallows, or a couple cuddle. Don’t forget to describe the crackling wood and sputtering flames.
|Image from Pixabay|
As we all know, kids are off for their holiday break for about two weeks in the winter. If there are kids in your story, include this fact in your story line. A single mother would have to entertain her kids. This could put a little hitch in her budding romance. You can also show the kids having fun outside and anxiously waiting for...
For children, winter signifies the return of Santa. If you do have children characters, have them write Santa a letter, beg their mom/dad to see Santa in the mall, and even ask if Santa is real. Each of these moments will add something special, heart-warming, and even funny (if you want it to be) to your story.
Winter would not be winter without Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, New Years Eve, or Valentine’s Day. You can pick one holiday or all of them if your story is a novel that follows your character’s lives through a few months. Don’t forget to include what makes these holidays so great.
Christmas- Christmas trees, presents, Santa, and parades.
New Years Eve- Midnight kisses, champagne, and resolutions.
Valentine’s Day- Love, heartbreak, dinner dates, chocolate and flowers.
Winter is famous for its Christmas mall madness and day-after sales. Let your characters experience some of this craziness complete with large crowds, short tempers, and parents scrambling to get their brats . . . I mean, kids . . . the newest and best toys.
In the winter, we tend to eat heartier meals and enjoy hot drinks. Below you’ll find a short list of foods and drinks that are in season and are popular for this time of the year. Letting your characters enjoy these foods/drinks would be a nice touch, as we tend to link them with winter time:
· Food- stew, chili, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, cranberries, assorted nuts, gingerbread, Christmas cookies, porridge, and fruitcake.
· Drinks- eggnog, hot cocoa, hot cider, and mulled wine.
|Image from Pixabay|
QUESTIONS: When you think of winter, what comes to mind? What do you love most about winter? What do you like least?