Thursday, February 6, 2014

Story Ideas

For all the folks stuck with mounds of snow in their yards and broken tree limbs loaded with ice, I'm sure they can't imagine ever reaching a point where they'll forget what it was like. And yet, it happens. In the steamy heat of summer it's hard to recall exactly what winter scenes were like.

That gift of forgetfulness makes it difficult to summon up the weather scenes when we're writing about an entirely different season than the one we're experiencing. The howl of the wind whipping around the corner of the building. The thunder of the rain pouring down on dry parched earth. The crisp, nippy lift in the rustling leaves of fall. The scent of freshly mown grass on a fading summer day.

The weather can add a dimension to our story that no other descriptor can quite match. Current events, character relationships, the outdoor surroundings all take a backseat to the heat or cold or rain our characters must contend with. Their clothing is determined by the weather. Do they need an umbrella? Or a pair of snow boots? Can they go swimming? If they have an accident could it lead to hypothermia--or heatstroke?

Throughout the year I take pictures for my story idea file so it's easier to recall what it was like. We rarely have ice storms here so I snapped several shots of the ice on the trees outside my window. I made sure I had one of the broken ice piled in the back yard, ice that crashed from the roof with a startling roar.

Then when I'm struggling in July to remember what it was like as I work on a winter story, I'll flip through those pictures to remind me. And I'll be able to add just that bit more realism to my story.


  1. What a great idea! You are in the midst of a challenging winter, Anny.