Thursday, May 28, 2009

THE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING


The above photograph was taken May, 2008 in Cluculz Lake, B.C.. The one below was taken a year later, May 19, 2009. The one below that was taken 3 days later.


The date on the photograph is incorrect. It snowed May 19 not April 19. Snow on April 19th would be depressing, but not completely unusual. Central British Columbia is known to have sever weather systems come through at the weirdest times.

But on May 19th, one-hundred-thousand-plus people woke to 3-7 inches of snow. I was so shocked that I sent out pics to many of my on-line friends. Those in the States wrote back to ask how I survived such winters. It then occurred to me that they thought snow in May was normal. It isn't. In fact, the only thing that gave me comfort was knowing that I wasn't alone. Every one of the one hundred thousand residents living in the Buckley-Nechako district felt the same way: depressed. Wouldn't surprise me at all if as much as 10 percent of the population woke May 19th and considered putting their house on the market and moving south. Anything to get away from this dark, gloomy, and depressing weather.

The photo below was taken May 22, 2009. And except for the late-buds on the trees and the fact there's no spring flowers sprouting from the ground, it's a pic of what we'd consider "normal".


Sadly, even as I admire its beauty, in the back of my mind, I'm counting down the months until next winter. Possibly four. Lucky for me I write suspense novels, often dark stories about bad things happening to good people. Getting into the mood is easier when it's gray and ugly outside.

I'm joking. Sure weather is a vital part of being Canadian. Sure we spend too much time bragging about how we survived the coldest of the coldest weather. But in reality we're envious of those living in warm climates; at these those living where they actually have four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Not Spring and Winter.

If you're a fiction writer, setting is essential to your plot. A mystery set on a beautiful sunny day might not carry the right atmosphere. If you're not a writer, notice how influential the weather is on your well-being? It takes a strong mind to overlook a gray day and retain a natural optimism. Normally, I'm working towards that philosophy. Today it's easy.

8 comments :

  1. Hi Ma .. love your pictures. Every time I see them, I miss home more!! But it is nice to know that you give me pictures to look at .. sigh!!

    love ya!!

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  2. I'd better not comment today.

    S N O W - a 4 letter word for sure.

    I'll try not to post any pics of sunshine & beaches for the next few weeks 'til things warm up up your way.

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  3. Lonne, how are you! I bet those two sweeties have you hopping. Thanks for stopping by. What a girl you are. Everybody misses you too.

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  4. haha, Dave. Go ahead. We're finally having decent weather. It's not hot but I'm outside with just a light sweater on. Too many bugs, tho.

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  5. I love these pictures--all of them. I agree with you about setting. It is much easier for me to write when it's raining and overcase---I live in FL---what was I thinking???? No rain-only sun---ha ha
    Hugs
    Katt

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  6. OVERCAST---not overCASE---I'm old!!! you have to over look my mistakes!!! ha ha

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  7. You have a beautiful spot there in any weather, but I'm sure you're happy to see that fresh new growth appearing on the trees at long last. Instead of having gloomy winter weather for a mystery setting you'll have to count on a summer storm instead. ;)

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  8. I got the photos you sent, though coming from Colorado, such weather changes don't seem unusual to me. Your point is well taken, though, that setting influences plot. Mountains have formed the backdrop of my life, and they form the backdrop of all my books. How the characters view those mountains at any given time help to show their mood.

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