On Facebook I follow a writers group called Wordcrafters in Eugene. Last week they wrote a post that said, “It’s writing season!” with a link to read about their current programs. Their fall offerings include a ghost story workshop, novel plotting, and emotional-thematic storytelling (I wish I could attend ALL of them!). Last Wednesday I attended their monthly Wordcrafters and Wine event, where every month a different writer gives a talk on a writing topic of their choice. This latest one was on “widening the world around your story”, how to weave details in your stories that hint at the culture, time period, and overall place that make up the world your characters live in.
As I listened, I couldn’t help but think of Ruth, the elderly woman in one of the latest stories I’ve written. In her story, she goes to an opera for her son’s birthday, and it turns out to be a night that she won’t remember…(does it entice you to want to know more? I hope so!). I can see her world in my own mind, but how can I convey it to the reader, without giving too much away, or offering too little? This is a daunting yet inspiring challenge for me, to create a world that the reader can imagine as I intended it to be, with room for the reader’s own imagination and interpretation of what happens there.
It may be mere coincidence, but I’ve noticed that the settings I’ve been choosing for my stories have been damp and chilly with sunny, crispy backdrops…the autumnal kind. I am a person who behaves very much in accordance with the seasons, so it’s no surprise to me that my writing would do the same. Autumn is particularly special to me though. I’ve always associated the season with slowing down and starting anew. I think starting school every year around this time has something to do with it. Summer can be hectic and fast moving with trips, busy weekends, outdoor projects, watering the garden (if you have a garden–you know). When Fall pokes its little cool head around the corner, I breathe a sigh of relief for a change of pace. The flow doesn’t just stop–life remains busy, but this time there’s hot chai, and cozy socks and sweaters, and warm gatherings indoors to look forward to. There are stews bubbling on the stove top, glorious evening sunsets, and serious contemplation of what you’re going to wear for Halloween (just me?). It’s also my birthday season, my husband’s birthday season, and my wedding anniversary season–all occasions that cause me to pause, reflect on what I’ve been up to this past year, and where I (or we) want to keep going.
I’m glad that the Wordcrafters reminded me that Fall is also writing season. I’m looking forward to spending more time indoors to write, pour energy into this blog, and other side projects. I’ve also been developing a couple recipes lately that I am eager to tweak and prepare for sharing.
Happy autumn, yall. Thanks for reading. I think I’ll go make ginger and cranberry scones now.