Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Seasons and Colors of Fiction

Multi-state blizzards terrorize travelers, heavy snow packs send skiers slipping and sliding into the mountains, yet spring hints of its approach. This month in Colorado, we've endured a sub-zero cold snap and enjoyed unseasonal temperatures in the sixties. While winter has by no means taken its leave, we will soon witness a massive rebirth of all that lies dormant beneath its frozen floor. Cloudless blue skies and sweltering summer days will follow the awakening of life and stay for a welcome visit before marching into the intense colors, pungent smells and warm-sun, cool-air days of autumn. Finally, winter will return, and the cycle repeats itself.

Spring speaks of children’s books, budding writers, and young adult stories. Pastel tales and the bloom of youth skip across the pages of Green Eggs and Ham, Winnie the Pooh, The Little Train That Could, and the adventures of Harry Potter, the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and a multitude of others. Writers birth new characters and new books.

Summer heat sizzles between the covers of romance novels and spawns hot new authors, while those who’ve weathered many seasons bask in the shade, pounding out their next hits and maintaining sales of past successes. Brightly hued flowers and kelly-green grasses inspire the creation of vivid yarns, colorful stories of bygone days, and the escapades of young and old alike.

Rich, deep reds, golds, oranges, and browns of autumn suggest mysterious plots, intense thrillers, and authors who long to expose the story behind the story and explore the darker side of human nature. Characters of extraordinary integrity emerge from cream-colored pages, humble mortals rising above weaknesses of flesh and spirit. Crimes of passion and passionate loves walk beside crimes of hate and lost loves into the minds and hearts of readers. Experienced writers stretch imaginations to send their characters beyond the lightheartedness of summer into the cavernous depths of human emotions.

Then it is winter. The world has become black and white again. Stories of good triumphing over evil abound, as well as those in which the aching cold stills a lonely heart. First-time older writers—seasoned citizens with many years of life behind them—find time to pen the stories long incubated within their souls. Authors with a host of books to their credit reach out with thought-provoking tales to touch readers of all ages. Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple proves the viability of elderly protagonists. The popularity of Jessica Fletcher (mystery writer J.B. Fletcher) in the long-running TV series Murder She Wrote indicates that no mandatory retirement age exists for writers or protagonists in the eyes of the reading (or viewing) public.

Are you a young, middle-aged, or seasoned-citizen writer? If you are an experienced author, how have the passing years changed your writing? How have the seasons and colors of fiction affected it?



Retired editor Linda Lane is opening a virtual bookstore where writers can gather in a cozy environment, support one another, learn from the pros, and mingle with their fans who come to purchase books and meet their favorite authors. The bookstore's blog will invite all to participate, and writers can enter mini-flash-fiction contests. Serialized novels will entertain those who come to read, and authors are welcome to submit their stories for possible serialization and world-wide exposure. Site is currently under construction, but feel free to visit: LindasBookNook.com.

15 comments :

  1. Wow, Linda ... you wax poetic today ... I got nothin' to add that that wouldn't expose my limited and rather pedestrian approach to writing.

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  2. This was a lovely, poetic piece, Linda. It was interesting to see the correlation between colors and fiction. I'd never looked at it quite this way before.

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  3. Christopher and Maryann, most of my elementary and secondary school years were spent writing poetry — with occasional digressions into prose. Those years were spent in the Midwest, where seasons and colors abound. Somewhere along the way, the two came together.

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  4. I completely agree and then some! The time of year I begin a novel has a direct impact on the tone, but I never made the connection until now! Very cool.

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  5. Linda, your background writing poetry shows so beautifully here! I love, love this piece. And how creatively you weave in the seasons to fiction. Just marvelous!

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  6. I didn't make the connection early in my writing career, Jodi. It's been a slow realization, one of those "oh, yeah" moments that come with the years. Once we make the connection, however, we can enhance it to our advantage. Now I wonder whether some readers also have a subtle or intuitive awareness of colors and seasons and characters and stories.

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  7. Susan, my son is a songwriter, and I have grandchildren who are artists. Me ... I can't carry a tune in a large barrel and can barely draw a straight line with a ruler. However, both art and music can be expressed in words that paint glorious pictures and fill the air with melody. I'm playing with a story in my head right now that will use both to bring its characters to life.

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  8. I love comparing different stories to seasons--great! I enjoyed your post.

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  9. Very well written and observed! What a joy to read something that is so clearly observed with such insights.

    As an artist myself, I sometimes wonder if people ever see what I see on a daily basis. Not only do you see it - you can articulate it in a way I could not ... and you tied it all together so beautifully ... and in less than 500 words? yep .. you're the Master! Now THAT'S what I call an EDITOR. Rock on Linda!

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  10. Heidi, I believe it was Roger Whitaker who did a song about the seasons of his life. It made a lot of sense, as I recall — a lovely example of the marriage between words and music.

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  11. Love your comment, Shannon. Your embracing of the world's beauty despite the flaws man has inflicted upon it and seeing it with unfiltered eyes of joy make you the artist you are — and a large part of the thought processes behind this article.

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  12. Guess I'm a writer in my early winter writing about characters in late summer and early autumn. Makes sense, as I've always loved that time of year best, when the dog days give way to crisp nights—and I was born in early September! To complete the thought, "back to school" was my favorite part of the school year, when hopes floated high over a blank slate. I dare say you taught me something about myself today, Linda!

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  13. Glad you had fun with it, Kathryn. Color and season add a different perspective to writing . . . and to self. :-)

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  14. Poetic, beautiful, a great reminder of how color affects our life, influences our writing and even our health!

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  15. Yes, Yolanda, without color, our lives would be very different—and very empty.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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