Pussywillows and Pastels: Using the Seasons in Storytelling

first sightings of early spring growth in the woods

the silky silver of pussywillows


wild salmonberry blossoms in fragile shades of pink


Using the seasons in your story can contribute to the setting. Just as the mood of a scene can be enhanced with a blinding snowstorm or the oppressive heat of a summer day, there’s a subtle psychology at play during different seasons. Think of the romance of a winter fireside tryst, a lazy summer sand and sea vacation, a rowdy autumn football game, or exhilaration at the springtime arrival of a foal or lamb.

If you’ve watched television dramas you’ll have seen the seasons playing an integral part. Horror scenes are rarely played out on a bright summer day!

Have you ever added atmosphere or momentum to a story by deliberately incorporating a seasonal setting?

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Note: “The date of the first salmonberry blooms depends on winter temperatures… The timing of salmonberry flowering is linked to the timing of other natural phenomena; for example, the return of the rufous hummingbird coincides with the availability of salmonberry flowers’ nectar.” [Clayoquot Biosphere Trust]

My hubby found the salmonberry blossoms and brought them to me on Saturday. The first hummingbird of the season arrived here Sunday. Coincidence, or just another of God’s many miracles of creation?

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Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

6 thoughts on “Pussywillows and Pastels: Using the Seasons in Storytelling

  1. Carol, I do work the seasons into my stories. My debut novel comes out in the summer, and that’s when much of the story takes place. I like to think readers will experience a California summer along with my characters.

  2. I think weather is a crucial part of being Canadian. I suppose Russians feel the same way. We endure such diverse changes. It was spring here last night, yesterday we received 2 inches of snow. Then heavy fog. I love how weather looms over a scene. Especially dark thrillers. Gray, cold, dirty snow, all these can do wonders in expressing melodrama. Just as sunshine and blossoms add something wonderful to comedies.

  3. Salmonberry blossoms! Yay, spring! I must head into the forest and see if anything is peeking out yet.

    I was very intentional about using the season/weather in my latest ms. 🙂

  4. Yes, I, too, think “weather is a crucial part of being Canadian,” Joylene. I know some of our readers live in places where there are no seasonal extremes such as we experience here, but I can’t imagine not having any one of our four seasons — even if I sometimes complain about the cold, the heat, the rain, etc. 😉

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