Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Settings and Seasons

Screech! A red wing black bird darts agitatedly from the hedge, anxious to guard his nest of babies. Plop! A turtle quietly but quickly submerges in the pond, leaving only ripples behind.

Early summer scenes of nature are wonderful inspirations for a writer and are just over at the local county park. Because I write nonfiction for children and also use nature in fiction picture books, these sightings set up possible book subjects for me. How different the setting is at this same park in the depths of winter when the summer birds have flown south leaving only the winter birds to find some comfort from the cold, and when the pond is frozen over and the turtles sleep deep beneath the rim.

Same location - different setting - for a different approach to a book topic.

Different or unique settings can be close at hand like the local park, or merely your city apartment window, where you can watch the effects of the long light of summer or the shortened light of winter. And a writer can travel to all points in the country to find phenomenal settings of nature like our grand, deep canyons or towering mountains, or across the globe to find exotic sites of wonder - in all the seasons.

Currently my son is traveling in Asia and has sent back photos of surfing in Bali, Angkor Wat at sunrise, and the turquoise waters of Thai beaches. The wonders of nature - in fabulous settings. How great to experience them!

Once home from the park or abroad, writers get to work, listing and reviewing the new ideas which I personally really appreciate being lucky enough to discover. After sorting and analyzing, I start, with great excitement, the construction of a new story - having found the setting and season, and planning characters and plot around them.

Actually, it's fun! Where do you find your settings - and season?


  1. My favorite setting is near the ocean - especially the rocky coves of Maine. The season doesn't matter, for I can always find something interesting to describe.

  2. Eileen,

    I enjoyed your post.

    I am writing a magazine story and I used my backyard for the setting. We are bordered by a creek and woods. Lots of wildlife come to call. It offers many possibilites and I enjoy the nature show.