Like most people, I’m more a slave to my circadian rhythms than I want to admit. While I love all the seasons for different reasons, I truly enjoy the longer, warmer days of summer. It’s a little easier to get up in the morning and a little more fun to stay up late.
While I’ve recognized this in my own life, I’m often surprised how often it finds its way into my writing. A book set in the winter has a different feel than one set in summer. Harsh, cold winds work their way into a story far differently than warm, sultry nights. And my characters’ behavior often follows.
It’s yet another observation on this journey as a writer that’s surprised and delighted me. When I place my characters in a situation and wrap an external, physical element around them, it takes them to scenes with each other they’re not expecting (and while I may be the driver, it’s often a major discovery for me, too!)
In BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE, my hero has a major emotional moment with my heroine while they’re huddled together in the cold watching the Northern Lights. And in the most recent book I turned in (working title: SILKEN THREATS), my hero’s run on a hot, sweaty morning puts him in close contact with my heroine as we open the book.
These settings provided a specific and deliberate backdrop that advanced my story and provided immediate context for my readers. They also provided context for me as I was writing. Does my heroine huddle against my hero for warmth? Or does she notice the slim T-shirt molded to his body, outlining his strong, capable form?
Hmmm….I think another system just woke up and took notice!
Thanks for joining me today! I’d love to hear about some of your favorite scenes in some of your favorite books. Did the broader atmosphere contribute to the book in some way? You may be surprised when you think about it!