How snow can help your writing…

snow-shovelI was going to write about blogging today but I cant get past the snow thing so I’m going to start this post by proclaiming my hate for snow. There I said it. I hate snow.

Now I know some of you east coast folk love your snow and I will agree that it is very pretty. For like five minutes. O.K. more like two… But then that whole, “Still need to function” thing kicks in and I’m out and shoveling this white powdery stuff that keeps blowing right back into the driveway and I realize once again how much I loathe snow.

You may be asking yourself, what does hating snow have to do with writing? Quite a bit actually. I was out shoveling snow and the following thoughts ran through my head about why I hate snow:

  • It’s cold (I don’t do well with cold – I actually sleep with a heating blanket on in the summer… True story.)
  • You have to put a lot of clothes on to go out in snow which limits mobility.
  • Shoveling snow sucks! It makes my shoulders, wrists and back hurt, not to mention the wind stings any exposed skin.
  • I’m probably going to have to shovel the drive again because the wind is just blowing the snow right back in the path I cleared.

I could sit here all day and give you all the thoughts that ran through my head, but my point is this: I can take any of the thoughts above and the physical feelings that went along with them and tap into them to write a scene for a character that hates snow. To expand on that, I could write a scene on anything my character hates by tapping into my own hate for snow.

Everyday we face situations that can result in visceral reactions for us, and while none of us wants to be uncomfortable, there is an upside is if we can stay in the moment and record these feelings. By avoiding overused clichés and tapping into your real life discomfort and feelings and using them in your writing, you can make your characters come to life and as a result, your readers will empathize with them.

 I still hate snow but I have a lot of great stuff from that hate that I can use in my writing and that is pretty awesome. What experiences have you had that you can use to strengthen your characters?

About Shelley Koon

Artist and author - visit me at my site listed below.
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7 Responses to How snow can help your writing…

  1. mikecrowl says:

    Ah, Shelley… You make some wonderful points here! But, you’ve overlooked a whole different bunch of things to hate about snow. If you drive in the snow, or even right after it has snowed, there are a few things that will also drive you to warmer temperatures. These include:

    – The guy in front of you who hasn’t bothered to clear the snow from the top of his car, while that snow is blowing back into your windshield causing a white-out.
    – How about the sheet of ice that was lying comfortably on top of that delivery truck until he reached 60 MPH, and the entire piece flips into the air and is planning to land right in front of you?
    – Or the lady who’s driving in the left lane going 40 MPH because she forgot to top off her windshield wiper fluid and can’t see through the salt?
    – Invincible drivers who for some reason think that four-wheel-drive trucks won’t slide on an icy road.
    – People who are texting, talking on the phone, making balloon animals, putting on makeup, shaving, juggling, and whatever else they want to do besides driving their cars so they don’t hit you.

    I say if it’s below 70 degrees, winter is just around the corner… And I’m from Baltimore, where we’re used to the temperature going from 14 degrees to 83 degrees overnight. If you hate winter, just wait a minute.

    • Shelley Koon says:

      LOL @ making balloon animals! I almost got killed today by a snow plow who evidently decided that clearing the road to – oh I’d say maybe 50% clear – entitled him to drive down the 40mph road at 70… Was it un-neighborly of me ot to reach out and wipe his window off as he passed – because he was close enough that I could have…

  2. Stacy Couch says:

    Snow-hater. Californian.*

    *In old-people-land, we get 20-year-old boys to shovel our snow.

  3. Laura Zimmermann says:

    Great post! Thank you for helping me see that something good can come from snow. Its evil cousin freezing rain could be a gold mine of ideas as well. 🙂

    • Shelley Koon says:

      Whenever i find myself annoyed with a situation I just think about how great it will be re-purposed in a book!

  4. Joann says:

    Growing up in the city we were always taught to sweep or shovel your neighbors pavement. I could not believe during one of our worst snow storms one of my neighbors cleared his pavement with a snow blower and went into the house. Thank God the neighbors across the street came over with shovels to lend a helping hand. I learned how to start our show blower and was able to clean several of my neighbors sidewalks and driveway.As the old saying goes love your neighbor as thyself.

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