A Secret in the Snow

Bundled into warm woolens I walk with the dog through the woods behind our house to the marsh beyond. Pristine snow etches every blade and branch in Currier and Ives fashion. Billows of mist rise from the surface of snow-laden water. The stillness is a silence into which God whispers a reminder that Christmas is coming, a time when his creation will honour him.

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On the return walk I discover a line of tracks along the edge of the back lawn. Like subtle clues in a story they share a secret of wildlife nearby, hidden somewhere in the trees. A mystery, until I stoop to examine the tracks and see they were made by a deer.

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I love mystery in any manuscript – being tantalized by suggestions that hover just out of sight until the moment of discovery.

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Question for you:

How do you incorporate mystery – or that all important element of suspense – into the pages of your stories when the genre is other than a true mystery?

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13 thoughts on “A Secret in the Snow

  1. Jody Hedlund says:

    I love your description of winter, Carol. I was on that walk with you! What struck me with our first snow was the way the snow laid upon the branches. They became so heavy that they bowed down. Some were even touching the ground. I thought to myself, “Even the trees praise him. They’re bowing down in worship to their Creator.”

    Thanks for your kind words over on Tamika’s blog yesterday. I just went back through and read the comments this morning. I’m humbled by the words of encouragement. But yours really touched me. I want to be open to whatever ways God wants to use me, even through blogging. Thank you for being his small voice today, to remind me that he can use blogging as a ministry.

    • I like your idea of the trees bowing down in praise of God. How appropriate!

      Thanks to your blog your words are reaching an audience that wouldn’t otherwise be available to you… definitely a ministry. It’s always humbling to discover that through no intended effort of our part God is using us as his vessels.

  2. joylene says:

    Very nice sense of wonder, Carol. I think it’s Wonder that gives life to our imaginations. Can’t imagine not being moved by the mystery of everything around us. On Sunday I was at my friend’s and in the yard near her fence under the protection of a huge spruce were large bird tracks. Was it a Warbler? Or maybe a BlueJay? Or could it have been a Eagle out for a stroll? We wondered, both of us disappointed we’d missed whoever it was.

  3. Carol: Although I write non-fiction, I try to incorporate the element of surprise by use of humor. Being a preacher’s wife affords little mystery–LOL!

    Thanks for your wonderful comments on my blog.

    Bless you,
    Jen
    Audience of ONE

  4. Laura Best says:

    I like to hold back just a bit when I’m writing. Perhaps drop vague hints that may or may not be important. For me, people’s thoughts and actions always adds a hint of mystery if you let. We are so very complex yet so very simple at the same time. The only thing mysterious is the unknown and the unknown is not necessarily a bad thing. Where would we be without some mystery in life?

    I love your description, Carol. Just beautiful and, it reminded me of how much I love that stillness in winter right after a heavy snow. Thank you!

    • I like your idea that only the unknown is really mysterious, and I agree the unknown isn’t always a bad thing. But isn’t it interesting how filmmakers often make it so? They like to take the unknown and make it a fearsome evil that keeps audiences holding their breath (or in my case, closing my eyes).

  5. Carla Gade says:

    One of my favorite things is seeing animal tracks in the snow!

    Hmmmm. That is an interesting question. I play with trying to incorporate a little bit of mystery in my WIP’s which are all historical fiction. I like to make the reader curious and use it to create a little suspense.

  6. Carla Gade says:

    Jody, what a beautiful word picture “Even the trees praise him. They’re bowing down in worship to their Creator.”

  7. Tricia says:

    I like a little foreshadowing to set the mood.

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