Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Second Winter

I get a kick out of this meme--it's so perfect.

 Photo: I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to look at this week's forecast....

That is exactly what our weather did here.  And it wasn't just the weather--I've found myself in a second winter of another sort.  A couple second winters, actually.

One was the rather intense research paper I had to write.  I finished it and was all, "YAYYY I'M FREE!" only to turn around and realize I had an entire class's worth of assignments to do in a week.  (Still working on that...I should not be blogging right now. Oh well.)

I've also had a second-winter sort of experience with my writing.  Things were going well.  I was revising fast and furiously.  I was a happy writer.  I even had a really wonderful experience with a beta reader that made all the work I've ever done on this project worth it.  I believed I was on the verge of breaking through and churning out a final draft--ambitious revision plan and all.

But then the school work I hadn't been working ahead on hit, and I haven't touched my manuscript for a while.  The inspiration and the confidence have fizzled out in the face of other things, and I am yet again back here, waiting for the day when I have time to write intensely again.  Waiting for spring.

But nature shows us how this always goes.  We're not headed for an ice age, and neither is my intellectual life.  Spring comes.  It just...sometimes comes a lot later than you thought it would. honor of the new series we'll be starting soon called EVERYTHING'S A WRITING ANALOGY, I feel compelled to observe how aptly situated we are for a writing analogy at this moment.

Instead of letting your characters have their happy ending and keep it, I'd say it's not a bad idea to give them some second winters of their own.

Give them a glimpse of hope, then take it away and watch them almost fail to hold on.  If they think they're tired, give them a short reprieve only to make them work harder.  Don't let them be done when they think they're done.  Tease them with a taste of success, then snatch it away again and send them to their greatest challenge yet.  Make it more difficult than they ever thought it would be.  Make them think they'll never see the sun again.

And then, when they do, it will be even more sweet, and we will have got the chance to see how strong they are.

Or at least, I hope that's how these things end. ;)


  1. Such a great post, Susan! I can totally relate to the second winter thing in different ways--the weather, my own writing, other aspects of my life. I like this notion of giving characters second winters (because, as writers, we're mean like that). It definitely adds conflict to a story and then makes the "spring" that much better in the end. Lots to think about here.

    I hope your studies are going well and that they wrap up soon so you can get back to your story! :-)

  2. One of my favorite lines from the Narnia series is in THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, where Narnia under the White Witch is described as "Always winter but never Christmas." I thought that was an excellent way to express the feeling that something's missing, something that would normally bring joy and excited anticipation to a cold, bleak landscape. Perhaps you're feeling that way at the moment. But don't worry, spring is coming... Christmas too! :D

    All the best with your school work, Susan. :)

    1. Thanks, Colin! And actually, we've been making the "Always winter but never Christmas" joke here on campus ever since we got back from break in January, basically! Love Narnia. <3

  3. I love this second winter analogy, and not just because our snow melted here only to dump on us AGAIN the other day. Sigh. Such is life in Canada. I totally agree with you on this. Giving your characters a short reprieve only to throw them back into a second winter really ups the tension in a story. Hope the snow melts soon in your academic world so you can throw yourself into writing again! :)

    1. Thanks, Erin! And Canadians are getting the snow even more than us, I imagine. o_o