This summer, like five previous ones, is packed full of holiday writing. Halloween was back in May. Veteran’s Day in June. July and August are Christmas, all other winter holidays, and New Years.
How do you get in the mood to write a holiday story when you’re staring at beaches and swimming the day away? When your favorite day wear includes shorts, a tank top, and sandals? I could point out that our Southern Hemisphere peeps have heat in their Decembers and cold in their Augusts, but that won’t help get me in the mood to write.
About five minutes before I begin my scene I’ll listen to Christmas music (Jazz instrumental, actually. It lets me write with it playing in the background). I close my eyes and imagine the sounds, smells, and sights of Christmas in the town I’ve created. I can see the town square’s Christmas tree and the frosted grass (we’re in Texas, so not much snow, I’m afraid). The fountain is shut off but beautifully decorated.
There are two bakeries on opposite sides of the square. A Boy and his Cake is the heart of our story. It has all the great smells you’d expect: cookies, cakes, pastries. The windows are decorated like Santa’s Workshop and the customer line stretches out the door and around the corner.
The other bakery is actually a bagel shop and they’re made fresh daily (Asiago Cheese and Roasted Garlic is on sale today). Can you imagine the delicious scents? I admit I had to walk to my local bakery a few times during my prep for this story to get a good idea…sacrifices…I know.
I imagine all of this and when I can see it…Really see it…I write it. My heroine can feel the whip of cold air on her face. She hears kids laughing and exhausted parents arguing. The square is busy as ever despite the time she’s been away (four years). Everything’s the same. Except for one small thing…A Boy and his Cake used to be Devyne Pastries and this picturesque Christmas scene isn’t hers to enjoy any more. Now the Christmas world around her is bittersweet. 🙂
The next time you’re not feeling a scene, take a few minutes to close your eyes and imagine it. Use all your senses and touch the world you’re creating. Let your characters experience it for a moment and then plunge them into their new challenge.