Writing in Time — February
I don’t know if many people have this habit, but I like to read books at the time of year in which they are set, if that season or month is important to the story.
I only read Christmas stories and poems in December. I am always on the look out for a good Halloween mystery and read them only in October. The climactic chapters of one of my favorite books Watership Down takes place during a thunderstorm in June, which makes me want to read it in that month.
I like to use the season and weather as key ingredients in my writing. So I was thinking about what kind of storyline would work best in February. Because I have only ever lived in temperate climates, I can only talk about February within that frame of reference.
February is a frustrating month. Even though I like winter with it’s snow and sub-zero temperatures, by February, that weather has grown tiresome. With Valentine’s Day in it, the month can be even more frustrating, depending on the status of your relationships. Lent sometimes begins in it, too, and all that focus on sins can be depressing. February 29 makes the month unique, but making such a contrary month longer may not be a good thing.
This all means that February is a great month as a setting for a story. I could use February as a symbol of a character’s dull, routine life that changes dramatically on February 29, that unique day of the calendar. If I wrote romance, I could have the dramatic change occur on Valnentine’s Day. If I wrote fantasy, I could give February 29 some magical significance. If I place Lent in the month, I think I would have to carry the story to Easter because Lent is pointless without Easter, just as it would be pointless for characters to focus on sins or shortcomings without offering hope for them in the end.
How do you see February as an inspiration for writing?