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BECAUSE OF SEASONS

If you’re thinking this blog is about setting, you’re totally wrong.  Maybe I should’ve changed the title so you wouldn’t have thought so, but after I started brainstorming ideas for a blog it actually fit.

My original idea was to write about two lessons I learned many years ago from my creative writing professor which, yes, would’ve pertained to setting, but then two of my Ruby sisters had also mentioned on our private loop that they planned blogs about the subject. Although I knew we’d approach the subject matter from different angles, I kind of figured our readers would say enough already.  So I’ll save my thoughts on setting for another time.

Anyway, going back to my creative writing classes— since I know you’re all dying to know what they were—the first one was free writing. We all know what that is, right? You just write whatever comes to mind without stopping for a length of time and the writing doesn’t need to follow rhythm or reason. It’s a way of freeing your muse. Thinking about that lesson helped me put a twist on the second lesson, which was setting sense and had to do with experiencing your world.

When we think of seasons we contemplate visions of spring, summer, autumn and winter and all the elements that make them unique. But for today, we’re going to think of seasons in term of our character’s lives.

People in different seasons of their lives have very different points of view on just about everything. I know I think differently than my children on many topics, including their view of texting to friends while talking to me as multi-tasking. I also have a different point of view than my parents on many subjects.

However, age is not the only factor that determines our mind set.  My views are not always agreed upon by friends who are my age. Everyone’s  POV has been shaped by many dynamics such as; their racial background, their educational level, the region in which they live, their talents, their experiences with others (job or social networking), past and present world events, handling health issues, religion, and their relationships with family members, to name a few.  To make characters really come to life we need to know which forces molded them—backstory.

A woman of ninety who has been totally blessed all her life is going to look at death differently than a girl of sixteen. And a girl of sixteen who has been blessed will face death differently than a girl who has been repeatedly abused by her father.

A man who has a family that depends on him for support is going to go to a job interview with a different mindset than a man who has no one but himself to worry about. And a woman is going to have a totally different mentality in the same situation.

Two homeless families will have a different outlooks on their future because of their relationship with each other and their faith in God.

Two men hear gunfire. One is a hunter. The other is a vet who has seen the worse side of humanity.  Each will react differently to the discharge.

A person who has never had a new car is going to feel differently about their new car than the person who buys a new Porsche every year.

Those are simply examples, but I think you get my drift.

I remember while cleaning for my grandmother I found dozens of pieces if cardboard maybe six inches in length. Each had many different colored threads spooled around them.  The threads were extras that came from clothing that had been undone.  She also kept sheets of used aluminum foil of all different sizes in a box. They were to be reused.  My grandmother lived through the great depression.  Many things she did all her life were based on the time she lived through.

Each season of life as well as how much we have been seasoned influences our POV and fuels our motivation in doing everything. So it should be for our characters.

 

 

Autumn Jordon is sneaker-wearing Ruby who authors light-heart contemporary romances and seat-edging mystery/suspense novels.  Join her newsletter at autumnjordon.com and receive a free book and many short reads, available only to her subscribers. 

15 responses to “BECAUSE OF SEASONS”

  1. Addison Fox says:

    I love this post, Autumn! It’s such a wonderful reminder that POV is about more than the character who is ‘speaking’ in a scene. Their world view is an essential component of that POV.

    LOVE THIS!!!
    Addison

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  2. ELIZABETH LANGSTON says:

    My first book is set in North Carolina. We have hurricanes a lot here. Near the end of the book, I had a hurricane spinning off the coast of NC–a cat 1. In a year where we’ve had drought conditions and farmers are desperate for rain, a cat 1 can soak the fields and relieve a drought.

    My editors live in Connecticut, and they had just suffered through Hurricane Sandy. They said that I couldn’t let it sound like a hurricane was anything but horrible. For me, the reverse is true with snow. A couple of inches of snow in New England is just another winter day. In NC, 1/4 inch of snow has shut down the area for days.

    A character’s POV can be influenced by so much, even something as simple as the weather.

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    • The regions where we live and it’s weather definitely shapes our characters POV. Great example of how weather does that.

      Here’s another example from life. My DIL takes motion sickness meds every time she visits us in northeast PA, as soon as she is off the plane. Why? Because our winding mountain roads make her sick. She was born and raised in the plain states and now lives in Az. So everything, no matter how minimal, has made us us and shapes our POV and also provide conflict.

      Thank you for sharing, Elisabeth.

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  3. Jennifer Bray-Weber says:

    This. This is so true. If only people would remember this when interacting with one another on social media. But I digress.

    I once had an editor who requested my historical, action-adventure pirate romance (which she judged and placed first in a contest) ultimately pass on it because she didn’t think it was right to “romanticize pirates” due to the ongoing situation with Somalia pirates. Personally, I found that utterly ridiculous. Hollywood romanticized pirates long ago and my book had nothing to do with Somalian criminals. But hey…

    Characters and readers can be influenced by just about everything around them or how they internalize life experiences and world events.

    Great post!

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    • Spread the word about this post, Jenn. Maybe some of those you speak about will realize everyone has a different view of the world. Mine certainly is not yours and yours is not mine as was your editor’s concerning your pirate novel.

      Thanks for commenting.

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  4. So true that our experiences and perspectives shape EVERYTHING in our lives. A great reminder to bring that to our characters. It’s the only way to make them feel real. Great post.

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  5. Gwyn says:

    And this is why universal themes touch everyone differently. Well said and well done. It’s all about growth for the writer as well as the characters.

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  6. Tamara Hogan says:

    Beautifully expressed, Autumn. Our characters all have specific points of view formed by their life circumstances and experiences, and we as authors need to be aware of how our OWN life circumstances and experiences can either supplement this, or get in the way. We need to be aware of our own influences and biases.

    Vivi gave me an opportunity to touch upon the age aspect of this in the ENTHRALL ME release day post she wrote a couple of weeks ago, in which I wrote: “A thirty-year-old, free-wheeling American who’s never known a world without computers is going to have a very different outlook on life than a Georgian-born Brit responsible for leading his species, or an elderly vampire who survived the Black Death.”

    When you’ve survived the Black Death, every day’s a bonus! 🙂

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  7. So true, Autumn. Our experiences shape our writing and it’s often tough dealing with a personal bias.

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  8. Cynthia Huscroft says:

    None of us would be who we are today without our “seasons” – the sunshine on the autumn leaves; snow sparkling like diamonds in that same sun; seeing one’s flooded property after a storm. I could go on…but all could be metaphors for the various seasons that are part of everyone’s life…love, renewal, aging…

    Thank you for this thoughtful and insightful(full) post, Autumn.

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