Monday, December 3, 2012

Writing craft: There's something about the holidays

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I really get into the holiday season. I'm indifferent to Halloween (I hate dressing up and really don't need more candy in my life) but I love Thanksgiving and - most of all - Christmas.

Because I'm so partial to those holidays, I often "check in" with my characters to see how the holidays are treating them. This may also be an influence of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, a book I've read so many times I've got it nearly memorized. Have you noticed how much happens in that book around Christmastime? I realize that it serves the story, but everyone, from Marley in the past to Scrooge and Tiny Tim in the future, seems to die around Christmas. Something to think about!

Readers of The Day After Yesterday will have noticed that I show the characters and how well (or not) their Christmas is going. These range from the first Christmas we see in the book, a dark time for all concerned, to the epilogue, which takes place at a Christmas concert and ends the novel on a note of grace and hope. And my Constant Readers who've read my suspense novel Ashes know about two chapters that take place on New Year's, and which are notable not just because the day and its events are turning points in those characters' lives, but because the events include tawdry sex and horrible ways to die. (If this piques your interest, remember that Ashes will be available in print and ebook in March of 2013.)

So whatever your plans are this holiday season, I hope it is a healthy, happy, and joyous time for you. Take a moment to think of how you'd portray it in a book or short story.

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