Fear in Writing: the Spring in your writing

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Monday, February 22, 2010

the Spring in your writing

Yesterday was perfect.  Our children slept till 7 (that is late for all you lucky empty nesters).  We walked/biked/strollered around the neighborhood and didn't even need coats.  In wonderful creative mom form, I turned the walk into a scavenger hunt and we spotted nature of all types along the way.  Then my son practiced passing, as he begins his first soccer league in two weeks (the U5 3v3 league--how cute is that?).  On to the backyard we went!  There we tackled the two story playset my husband built out of sturdy 6x6's, swinging, climbing and playing with sand until afternoon encroached on our morning.  But my son had plans for that, too.  "Let's have a family meeting!" he exclaimed as we all gathered on the top level of the playset, testing the strength of my husband's workmanship.  So we did, our first ever.  And we planned a picnic, to be held that very day in that very spot.  Without delay we scampered inside to pack our picnic basket--we went all out!  Then back to the homemade play-yard with the homemade sandwiches we went.  Tangerines, pear-apples, carrots, water & juice, and some sugar cookies for dessert.  We dined, held our second family meeting (the topic, at my son's behest, was Bugs), and went inside for naptime.

Yesterday was February 21st.  February.  It snows in February.  Instead of picnic baskets we could have been scraping ice off of our windshields as we dared to brave the cold for just one family outing in wintertime.  But that wasn't yesterday.  Yesterday was Spring.

So I ask you, in the midst of winter, what does a little Spring mean to you?  I feel refreshed.  It was a perfect day for my family.  I don't know how confused my kids will be when the temperature plummets again this week, but I know we will be able to handle it.  The briefest Spring pleasure will get me through the darkest winter.

And I think our mystery books are that way, too.  We have to include a few light points to give our readers room to breathe, a place to laugh that will carry them through the most macabre chapters.  What sort of Spring do you put in your writing?  Romance?  Comedy?  New friendship?  Discovery?  Do you think this is important as a writer and as a reader?

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  1. Spring and moments like that with the family are so refreshing - how wonderful your day sounded :)

  2. Giving the reader a breathing space is great.
    But the light moments serve another purpose, there is nothing like juxtaposing light and dark to emphasise a point in a story.


    Publish or Perish

  3. I LOVED this weekend. It was just what I needed after all the cold and rain. Of course...it's raining here today in Charlotte, but oh well. :)

    I love humor in mysteries for a little relief from tension.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. It was nice outside, wasn't it?
    A lot of times, my characters have nice days such as yours, sans kids of course!

  5. We had a relatively nice day yesterday too. The afternoon of which I spent trying to catch up on some much-needed rest. Fail.

    Still, gotta love a reprieve from the blizzard conditions we've been having. Oy.

    And... the formula I've heard? Only three disasters in a row for your characters before you lighten things a bit. Seems to work well.

  6. I do have a bit of tragedy in my book and offset it with humor and personal triumphs. When everything is going wrong, something goes right!

  7. oh what a delightful day you had! Still a bit snowy here and more fell last night and a storm predicted for the weekend.
    As to my work - yes and yes and yes. Contrast is everything - places for the reader to breath and ponder - usually when my detective is thinking about something seemingly unrelated to the mystery (it always is though). Perhaps she is talking to her partner at how stupid her dating life has become or she is eating something ever so good. Or maybe it is a description of a room or a tree. I try not to let these moments overload but that is the balancing act we must play, neh?

  8. What a wonderful day! I add comedy to my mysteries - not on purpose, it just seems to appear. Of course, many times, it's rather dark comedy...

  9. Michelle- Your pics today are great as well! I forgot it is summer where you are!

    Al- really great point, and one I hadn't thought of.

    Elizabeth- Raining here, too! And though I said the Spring Sunday would get me through the blues of the week, a migraine had me down today. Ugh.

    Diane- It's good to take the readers through beautiful places.

    Simon- Ah, hadn't heard that formula. Sounds about right.

    Alex- I hadn't thought of perseverence in the face of evil as a break, but you are right. I'd imagine there is a lot of that in SciFi.

    Jan- You remind me here of Donna Leon's books, have you read them? The detective always retreats to his family for a few scenes during the novel, and it is refreshing for him and for the reader.

    Elspeth- Even dark comedy can bring relief. And you don't want to add comedy that doesn't fit with the theme of your book.

  10. Super post, Michele!!

    I miss picnics with my kids! We had so much fun.

    We lucked into a glorious day here as well. I needed to spend several hours at work, but I walked both ways (under an hour each way so not too far). The temperature was a bit above freezing, the sun shone and I had my iPod blasting. Wonderful!!

  11. Sounds like a wonderful day!
    My Saturday was like that (ahhhh). Miss it already.
    As for story, give me humor to break the tension or at least a moment where we can see what it would be like if the poor protagonist was happy and not having to deal with the sky falling.

  12. My favorite weekend moments: opening every window in the house and letting in the fresh air, and not having to don a heavy coat to walk the dog - It was *so* wonderful!

    I write dark and what romance there is tends toward the tragic rather than the uplifting. But the friendships are deep, and all of my characters have a sense of humor. Those are the two areas I tap when it's time to lighten up and give the reader a break.

  13. Jemi- That sounds fantastic! Your comment reminds me of university--walking to class and feeling so free.

    Lorel- I just thought of this, humor and iPod I think, but the lighter moments can also make the dark moments more stark and unexpected. And the same for your point about the character: it's important to see how they react under different emotions, to contrast the two.

    VR- I bet if we read your work those relationships are more prominent than you think. Thanks for coming by today!