Words in Season by Annmarie Miles
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Annmarie Miles as she shares with us about “Words in Season.” Enjoy!
Coming from Ireland as I do, even the slightest bit of sunshine brings excitement. We have a lot of rain – It’s why we have our ‘40 shades of green.’ I remember as a kid, when on vacation at the beach, it didn’t matter what the weather was like. Sun, rain, wind, arctic temperatures – we didn’t care. We were in the sea, building sandcastles, chasing beach balls as they blew away.
For me, fine weather is a real treat; and when it shines long enough to warm the air – well it’s happy day. There is something about the change in seasons that inspires new writing. Last year I tried a seasonal exercise. I set 4 dates in the year and I tried as much as possible to do the same thing, or take the same journey at certain points through each of the 4 seasons. I made notes of what I could see, hear, smell etc.
Until I started to take notice, I hadn’t realised that taking the bus in winter is a totally different experience from taking the bus in summer. The supermarket is an altered place from Spring to Autumn. Different produce appears on the shelves. Bright yellow Easter chicks, change to striking black and orange Halloween candy.
People, conversations, driving, atmosphere – all changed with the seasons.
[On a side note, it’s a great ‘show, don’t tell’ exercise; to make sure your reader knows what time of year it is, without mentioning the month or season.]
Summer writing for me is the most fruitful and I think it’s because people talk more. The wonderful Irish writer, Maeve Binchy, took the bus everywhere. She loved those journeys. She didn’t read, she didn’t write, she just listened; to conversations, turns of phrase, greetings and compliments. The fine weather opens windows, top-collar buttons and mouths. And it’s a great time to gather some story fodder.
Here are some of the questions I asked myself?
What and who can I hear? Children laughing, older folk chatting, music from a side street café…
What can I see? Colours, clothing, soft top cars, couples staying close…
What can I smell? Interesting food from restaurant doors, light perfume, freshly cut grass…
What can I feel? Rose petals, light fabrics, grass…
What can I taste? Fresh fruit, cold drinks, ice cream, crispy salad…
These are just some of the notes I made when I did this exercise last year. From those notes came a number of story ideas and one or two interesting characters, including an illegal immigrant who worked in a Moroccan restaurant.
Using the specifics of the season can bring great depth to our writing. Take a bus or train journey, or go for a walk in a park or on a busy street. Leave the headphones behind and use your senses to take it all in. Let us know if you share the results on your blog. We would love to read them.
Happy summer writing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Annmarie Miles, part time writer, full time believer is 40something, Irish, Christian, married, and proud to be all of those things. She loves words, music & chocolate! You can find out all about her and her book “The Long & The Short of It” at the new
Where to find Annmarie:
Personal Blog: www.auntyamo.com
Writing Blog: www.annmariemiles.com/blog