Autumn is my favorite season. I think it must have something to do with the fact that I was born in the fall. So, as a child, I always came to associate the season with good things: my birthday, the return of cool weather, the beauty of leaves turning, and the start of a new school year. I still look forward to those aspects of the seasons. I love the scent of autumn and lately I can smell that change, that turning from summer to fall, in the air. You should see how excited I get when I spot a leaf that has gone from green to orange or red a little earlier than its mates!
I like the season so much that I find I often use it as a backdrop for my writing. In considering this post, I realized that I set my stories’ action in autumn more often than any other season. This nudged me to start thinking about how seasons can play an important role as an element of setting. Have you ever read a story in which a snowstorm forced the hero and heroine together? Does a summer backdrop offer an opportunity for beach scenes, long days, and sultry nights?
The traditional symbolism of the seasons also plays a role when I choose to set a story during a particular time of the year. One of my manuscripts in progress has a theme of redemption and forgiveness. I set the key resolution scenes of the story during the winter because I invariably associate the late days of winter and the holidays with these themes. Then again, it seems I don’t always follow convention as other authors, historically, have used winter to symbolize death or lack of hope. Likewise, autumn can symbolize either a waning or a time of satisfaction, when hard work finally leads to harvest.
Do you use seasons to invest your writing with their symbolism or enhance your theme? Alternately, as a reader, have you seen authors use weather or seasons in this way?