Writing Tip — Writing in Time — September as a Setting

pathway-2532588_1280As I wrote in my post about using August as a setting, I love this time of year, from August through New Year’s Day. In a temperate climate, like where I live, September and October are the best months of year. The nights are cold enough to kill the most annoying bugs. We can actually enter our woods again without being eaten alive. The days are usually 70-80 degrees. And it’s the driest part of the year, so we get day after day of sunshine and bight blue skies.

Another benefit of the lack of rain is that the water level in the river drops, and my family and I can wade to an island in the middle of it. We spend the afternoons on the island. I write, my kids catch fish and crawdads, and kayak with my husband. It’s as close to perfect as I’ve found on earth.

Labor Day and the beginning of the school year kick off the month. Both are helpful events to start stories. Any setting in which you can bring together disparate characters, whether it’s a family picnic or the first day of school, gives you the ingredients to whip up any number of conflicts for your plot.

The fall equinox offers opportunities for writers of speculative fiction. Check out my post on March where I mention the spring equinox.

carnival-rides-2648047_1280The biggest event in my community this month is the county fair. I have a special fondness for fairs with their competitions in crafts, foods, and farm animals. My home county always has its fair in September, and I won five blue ribbons in baked good as a kid.

My kids are in 4-H and enter projects in the fair. So many kids compete with farm animals that we get two days off from school. I love just about everything at the fair — the rides, the exhibits, the animals. And like the photo above, the fair at night has a magical look to it with all the bright lights holding back the night. It makes me feel tied to a simpler life and reminds me of my mom’s parents, who grew up on farms.

713maf2b2mlAs a setting, a county fair can be used to tie a rural community together or maybe highlight a clash between the past and the present. The best book I’ve found that captures the essences of county fairs is Fair by Ted Lewin. My kids and I read it every September.

What is September like where you live? How would you use it as a setting?

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