It’s a common joke among authors who write any genre involving death or murder that we take out our real world frustrations on our fictional world characters. Yes, I’ve done it, but that’s not the point today. Well, it’s sort of the point.
As authors with the liberty and freedom of a blank page, we can tap our emotions and experiences and use them to lend depth and dimension to our stories. Even the smallest experience can be used and expanded to help flesh out the world for our characters.
Personally, when I’m writing stories around holiday time – or about holidays – I often indulge in a trip down memory lane. I think back to the smell of hot chili on Christmas Eve, marshmallow-topped hot cocoa at a cookie exchange, or fresh evergreen garlands and wreaths (like those I sold as a fundraiser for one of my extra-curriculars).
Living in the south now, I love to think back to those white Christmases (or more often white New Years’). The crunch of fresh snow under new boots, the snowball fights, that soft white blanket just ready for a snowman or snow angel.
The author’s favorite treat might show up as a character favorite – or least favorite. Traditions we love – or hate – can become catalysts for story lines, turning points, and conflict. When you know something so well, it’s often fun to explore it from the opposite point of view as your own.
Give it a try and let your holiday memories – good and bad – fuel your world building when you’re writing.
As a reader, I bet now you’re wondering… what’s a revamped memory and what is pure fiction? Well, that’s the best secret, isn’t it?
Live the adventure!
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