Writing Tip — Writing in Time

winterw-1291480_1280Of course, it’s hard to think of December without thinking of Christmas. The whole month seems to be nothing but a headlong rush to the 25th. But I want to discuss some other ways to use December before I get to the gigantic holiday at the end of it.

Winter Solstice — The shortest day of the year seems like a good setting for a clash between the forces of good and evil in any genre. I have an idea for a story of crime fiction where a serial killer is finally confronted during sunset on this day. A work of speculative fiction could give a fantastic meaning to the solstice.

School break — My kids finish their first semester at the start of Christmas vacation. The break would be a good setting for wrapping up a school story or kicking one off.

Advent — On the Christian calendar, Advent consists of the four Sundays before Christmas Day in which to prepare our hearts, souls, and minds for the coming of Jesus. Each Sunday has focuses on “four virtues Jesus brings”, according to this article on United Methodist Church site, love, joy, hope, and peace. A story incorporating these virtues could lead up to a climax on Christmas Day.

Christmas — So much has been written about, during, and because of this holiday, it’s difficult to find something fresh to say. And yet those of us writers who love the holiday always want to try. If you want to write a Christmas story, I encourage you to examine your own experiences and traditions to give your story a unique quality, whether it is a plot, voice, or character.

Here’s my idea:

The Lody family live in a cramped trailer in the remote mountains of West Virginia and must do their laundry at the Laundromat in the county seat miles away. Seventeen-year-old Junior Lody sees an ad online for a stackable washer and dryer while working Christmas Eve. He enlists the help of his brother, cousin, and uncle to take a road trip to get the washer-dryer in Maryland and bring it home in time for Christmas.

I like the idea of a road trip during Christmas because with the winter weather, especially in the mountains, so much can go wrong. Also, the deadline of getting a gift in time for Christmas Day gives the character’s an urgent motive.

How would you use December as a setting?


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