“… ridged inch deep with pearl”

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The snow had begun in the gloaming,

And busily all the night

Had been heaping field and highway

With a silence deep and white.

.

Every pine and fir and hemlock

Wore ermine too dear for an earl,

And the poorest twig on the elm-tree

Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

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[James Russell Lowell — The First Snow-Fall]

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(Click photos to enlarge)

“Every intricacy of twig…”

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There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very
hollows in snow.  It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every
blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.

[William Sharp]

The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof;
the world, and all that dwells therein.
[Psalm 24:1]
~

The Plot… er, the Snow, Thickens (There’s a Giveaway, too!)

Chilly west coasters are coping with the intrusion of an Arctic ridge of high pressure. It’s creating strong outflow winds and bringing frigid temperatures from the Interior of the province into our normally balmy south coast. As the front pushes towards the coast it’s meeting warmer Pacific onshore currents, producing… what else? More snow.

Just what I always wanted! I already have as much as I need, thank you very much. It has the perennials nicely insulated, shrubbery beginning to bow under the weight, and the early Snowdrops buried in icy graves. Now I’m starting to worry about what’s coming next.

Funny… that’s what it’s like when I’m reading a mystery story. The foreshadowing is there, the clues start piling up, and while I wait for the damage to hit, I’m gnashing my teeth that I didn’t pay more attention earlier in the season… um, in the story.

By the look of the forecast, I might as well throw another log on the fire and make myself some hot chocolate. This story has to play itself out and I want to stick around to see if the ending fulfills the earlier promise. The plot is thickening as we speak!

~

Is it my imagination, or are there other plot similarities to be found in weather situations? I’m offering a $10 Starbucks gift card for the most creative comparison. Leave yours in a comment under today’s post before tomorrow (Thursday), 6:00 p.m. Pacific time, and I’ll reward the most innovative writer with the means to wrap cold hands around a hot mug. 🙂

~  ~  ~

Whiteout! Navigating a Storm of Information


Six hours on the highway and what do I remember most about Sunday’s trip? The couple hours making our way through a near whiteout.

Wind drove the snow horizontally at us, at times obliterating the scenery and obscuring the road. We crawled along until, with a swirl, the snow would be whipped thin and we would catch glimpses of the vehicles ahead of us.

As we cautiously descended the mountainous route, weather and road conditions improved until once again things were in focus and we could relax and enjoy the trip.

There are times when I study the writing advice offered by many experienced authors and industry professionals and begin to feel as if I’m in an informational whiteout. With words of good counsel coming at me from every direction it’s sometimes hard to discern the best route.

A cautious and common sense approach applies here, too.

  • Consider the source

Not all self-promoted sources are equally qualified to offer advice. Some information should be taken as opinion based on personal experience… experience that may not be the professional norm. I look to successful authors, agents and editors for recommendations.

  • Balance information with application

We can be blinded by reams of information from books, blogs, speakers and critiquers. Better to alternate research with writing, putting information into practice as we discover what best applies to our writing style.

  • Trust your instincts

As their creator we should know what we want our stories to accomplish. Once we’ve learned the basics of good writing, completed a few novels and shared them with appropriate readers for feedback, it’s time to evaluate suggestions and advice.  Not every recommendation will fit with our purpose. We must learn to depend on the judgment of a trusted editor or agent, but also on our own instincts.

These are my basic guidelines for navigating an overwhelming storm of writing information. What else have you found important?

~

Windows on Winter

Windows on winter

Sun-blessed discoveries

On a chilly morn

Wandering ‘coon tracks

Across my back deck

Pressed in powdered snow

Glimpses of beauty

Branches of white lace

Tree spears stretching tall


Evergreens shiver

Showering snow flakes

To capture lost warmth



Fresh winter snowfall

Fluffy white crystals

Dusting winter’s day

~

What’s your writing day like?

Can you describe it in five syllable phrases?

~

Misplaced Effort… Oh, Bother!


To quote Pooh Bear, “Oh, bother! “ Has this ever happened to you? You get a bright and shiny idea for a new story, and want to dive right in, except there are a lot of other things you need to get out of the way first before you’ll be able to focus on the new story. So you do your best imitation of the White Tornado, race around until all the subliminal clutter is eliminated, and voila… you’re ready to write. Except now that you’ve had time to ponder your idea it no longer seems so shiny.

Or, perhaps you’ve managed to ignore all the distracting chores and jump right into developing that idea. And you write. And you write. And then you sit back after about 5,000 words and realize it wasn’t such a great idea after all.

Yeah, it happens, and I think maybe that’s why I find this video so hilarious.

Whispers of Winter

 

Soft and silent snow

Aftermath of windswept flakes

Whispers of winter

~

Lonely autumn leaves

Chilled by a crystal blanket

Drop dying colours

Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

[1 Chronicles 29:12-14]

 

 

Pre-Winter Blasts and Blusters

 

We west coasters may be teased as wimps, but we’re accustomed to balmy rainforest-type conditions here. When temperatures take their first winter plunge we shiver and complain. This weekend blustery winds blew our first short lived snowfall into skiffs and drifts, and layered nearby mountains in a wardrobe of white. Most of the snow in town is gone now but our thermometer is on the way down to -7oC tonight (about 18oF).

Winter conditions play a big part in a recently revised manuscript where my protagonist escapes dangers in his city life to become the winter caretaker at a remote northern fishing lodge.  As I hunt for words to adequately describe the beauty of this first blast of winter it makes me wonder how effectively I described the fictitious northern winter in my story.

Does weather or climate play a significant role in your work-in-progress? Do you use detailed description or tuck in bits of relevant references to convey its effect on the story and characters?

It May Be Winter, But….

Sixteen degrees!* That was the temperature as we returned home to the Fraser Valley on Saturday from our eighteen days in the Okanagan and East Kootenay areas of BC. We drove 2,000 km and never once drove on snow.

Hoodoo Mountain

East Kootenays

Columbia River

East Kootenays Snow

Kicking Horse Mtn. Resort near Golden, BC

Near Rogers Pass

We did see snow, of course, but here at the coast the spring crops are already greening. At the moment my DH is washing the truck in the sunshine and thinking of mowing the lawn later this afternoon.

Fraser Valley Farmland

Fraser Valley Farmland

Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley

It’s not exactly ideal Winter Olympics weather but it made for great travelling. And after last year’s long snowy winter, I’m not complaining one bit!

[* 16 C. = 62 F.]

On the Cusp

Here we are, on the cusp of December, with Advent just under way and NaNoWriMo concluding. I’m pretty sure these three events have nothing in common except their timing, but each of them gives me reason to rejoice.

December,

not quite winter, no longer autumn – brings the chickadees and varied thrush rushing to chow down at our freshly filled bird feeders (surely the bears have gone to bed by now).

Advent,
time of preparation and anticipation — four weeks in which to align our hearts with heaven’s promise and prepare ourselves and our homes for the coming Gift.

NaNoWriMo,
concluding “thirty days and nights of literary abandon” — ready now to ease out of a crazy race of words against calendar and wonder about the potential of the emerging novel.

Then again, maybe they do have something in common. Potential.

What do you think?