Wintery scenes ~ Maressa Mortimer


Sunday morning started with a tiny sprinkling of snow. An hour later, the path had a dusting of snow. By the time we had breakfast, the snow almost covered my children’s wellies! So much change in such a short time. It’s been a white world ever since, as the temperature has been ridiculously low, with only Goldie, our Labrador puppy having a wonderful time.

It looks beautiful, as long as you’re wrapped up in enough layers to stop you from moving your arms. It made me think of the Christmas books around, which will be popular this year. People going for lovely walks in the snow, without mentioning frozen toes, soggy socks and fingers that struggle to turn to key to get back indoors.

On the other hand, it’s tempting to keep taking pictures. Snowy trees, a gorgeous sunset, a bouncing puppy...all worth another few pictures. Again, not something you can put in a book. Nobody wants to know there was another amazing sunset. More pink and orange this time, unlike last night’s which was more pink and yellow... My editor would cross that bit out, I know, so I delete those kinds of sentences before sending the manuscript to her. Just like you don’t post all your snowy pictures on Instagram (Maybe you do. Good for you, I actually like seeing them!).

The same is true for spelling out what our characters are wearing. I often have to go back and add more details to my characters. Colour of their dress, kind of shoes, hair colour... But telling your readers that she is putting on one thermal vest, one long-sleeved shirt, one jumper, one woolly cardigan... They might not need to know that. It’s tempting though, for how many people wear that many layers all the time? About a month ago, we went to Bournemouth and played on the beach. It was 18C, so we had ice cream and sat in the sunshine, basking. Now the thought of ice cream makes me hunt out my thermals.

The suddenness of temperature changes or snow arriving can lead to great problems for your poor characters. We once had to stay overnight with friends, as the sudden snowfall caught us all by surprise and we couldn’t drive downhill anymore! Fortunately, their daughter had been taken by surprise as well, so we stayed in her room...

Will you be writing or reading typical Christmassy, wintery stories this month? It’s a bit like listening to Christmas carols, extra cosy and special in December. I have read a few already, but look forward to reading more!


SC Skillman said…
Thank you for this lovely post Maressa. First, yes, please do post beautiful wintery scenes on Instagram - well, 9 or 10 of them anyway! I don't think we ever tire of seeing the glory of a warm sunset against crisp white snow - one of nature's miracles. As to reading Christmassy wintery books around this time of year, I don't really, continuing to read the books I chose regardless of the time of year But I do like to watch films of that nature. I always love seeing Dickens A Christmas Carol on film and TV, and I suppose I should make a conscious effort to pay attention to contemporary authors who may be just as good! With regard to snow as a significant element driving the plot, Jane Austen certainly does that in 'Emma', when the hypochondriac Mr Woodhouse forces everyone to leave the dinner party in a hurry because he learns it's snowing... and Emma get stuck in a carriage with Mr Elton who makes an embarrassing proposal to her by which she becomes aware of her first major error!
Thank you! Yes, Jane Austen has quite a few scenes where the weather affects the plot... I love A Christmas Carol... My kids loved the Muppets version...
Umberto Tosi said…
Thank you for your snowy imagery and prose. First snowfall is my favourite time of year. Most of my neighbors say they hate snow - having had enough of it by January, long before spring. But I love it, having grown up in snow starved Los Angeles where my fondest memories are of snow trips up to the mountains! My favorite literary passage about snow (and there are many( comes at the end of James Joyce's "The Dead:"
... A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.
Thank you! And what a beautiful quote...!

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