It’s the blah days of January – too late for Christmas, too early for Valentine’s Day. Unless you’re into snow sports, your need for snow evaporated last month on December 26. But here we go again, with much of the U.S. under snow or about to be.
So, now what to do? You have a couple of choices. Curl up and read a good book, curl up with your significant other, bake bread/cake/cookies/brownies. Or you can write a steamy romance novel to warm you from the inside out.
In the “olden” days of writing, one had to visit scenes, go to bookstores, haunt libraries. But thankfully, we have this tool literally at our fingertips now, called The Internet. Want to go Crete? One word: Google. You will get enough hits to learn about the culture, find photos of places, people, culture that you can use in your descriptions. You won’t be able to see and taste it, but as a writer your imagination already has you most of the way there anyway.
After you research your setting, think about who you’re going to plop into that setting. You need a hero, a heroine, and an adversary or adversaries. Depending on what your basic plot is going to involve, your adversary can be anything from a dangerous international criminal cartel to the weather that destroys the chalk pictures on the sidewalk.
It’s at this point, I find it helpful to partake in something comforting . . . cocoa, herbal tea, a candy bar, some of that fresh bread you’ve been baking . . . even, if the mood hits a nice glass of wine or a bottle of beer. Hey, the weather just trapped you in your house, you’re about to take a self-driven adventure through the windmills of your mind. Whatever makes the boat float at this point.
Now, some people write with music, so if that’s your thing, you’ll want to make your choices. I tend to create themes for my setting, for different upcoming scenes, and for each major character. So I write with a sound track. Again, whatever your routine calls for. But here’s a challenge. If you normally do NOT write with music, do you really want to hear that wind howling just on the other side of the window? Why not try just a little background music? It can be instrumental — classical or new age. You don’t have to search the archives for obscure R&B or classic rock references. If you have a goth theme or a vampire thing going on, try a little Nightwish. If you’re working on a project in Africa, research African tribal drums. Western/cowboy? Try a little country (the newer stuff works better for me). If you’ve actually gone to Greece or Crete in your story, look up ethnic music from these areas. Hey . . . you’ve just been weathered-in. Why not try something just a tad out of the ordinary for you?
Now, you’re ready to write, and here’s a critical part. Turn off the Face Book. You’ve been cut off from the outside world by the weather, make that cut complete. Take a break from everyone, isolate yourself and really go to the scene you’re about to set.
This is the author’s version of making the best of being weathered-in. Of course, if you have a significant other and would rather do . . . something else . . . that works, too!
But if you’re a writer and the weather has you trapped . . . let your imagination roam the face of the earth from the comfort of your desk chair and see what it brings back to you — ready, set, WRITE!