Saturday, April 27, 2019

Seasons in Stories

The season of a story's setting can affect the story not only emotionally but also metaphorically. Characters drenched by a rainstorm or trapped somewhere during a snowstorm can create dramatic situations both emotionally and physically.

While most of my scifi stories do not have seasons, I have a couple of shorts that do, and I know seasons can play powerful elements in the setting and in the plot. Of course, it all depends on where the setting takes place and the type of season portrayed.

Another aspect of seasons is the metaphorical or symbolic meanings tied to seasons. People often take the seasons as symbols of living: spring is the child and summer morphs into the young, adventurous adult. Fall becomes the measure of one’s success in life, while winter represents old age and facing life's end.

Spring, of course, is the season when the daylight lengthens and seems to brighten. It is a season of renewal, a time when many wild animals give birth and when trees and plants emerge from hibernation to sprout leaves and flowers. So, it can represent childhood, growth, regeneration, or being given a new start. It is a time when many darkened souls find hope.

Summer is when things warm up and turn hot and wild. People love to vacation and have outdoor parties and events during summer. It makes summer represents freedom.

Autumn is the seasons of reflection, the ripening of life, or a warning of the approach of winter’s difficulties.

Winter is when many animals go into hibernation and in the U.S. a time when many people in northern states become snowbirds and take extended stays in southern states. Daylight is less time than darkness. Depending on where you live, travel can become difficult and the weather can turn into deadly storms. Yet it is also the time when many skiing or snowmobile enthusiasts show how they can conquer both the snow and cold. Winter can often represent a season of introspection and endings but it can also be one of rebirth as represented in the Christmas story. So it is also a season of hope. Most often, though, it symbolizes hardships, hopelessness, despair and of death.

While all of these are obvious, they can be effective in stories because the reader has their own experience of the season. If they live in a location that does not have the hard winters of some places, they are aware they happen. Many meanings in stories are subliminal or symbolic and writers can take advantage of the seasons to the story’s benefit.

Please visit the following authors for their viewpoints on seasons in writing:

Skye Taylor
Victoria Chatham
Diane Bator
Judith Copek
Beverley Bateman
Connie Vines
Helena Fairfax
Dr. Bob Rich 

Dr. Bob Rich 2


  1. We seem to be on the same wave length on how seasons affect a plot metaphorically. Keep on, keeping on...

  2. The usual calm, insightful post I expect to see here. :)

  3. It's true that people who live in warmer climates often have no idea how the cold of more northerly outposts can chill you to the bone. Knowing that it can get cold is no substitute for experiencing how that can leave you feeling tired and miserable. Likewise, I was not prepared for landing in Singapore and being hit with such a high humidity it all but sucked the life out of me!

    1. I know the feeling Victoria. When I moved to Missouri it was over a hundred degrees and very humid for a month. I felt that life sucking feeling. People in St. Louis died because they had no air conditioning in certain parts of the city, and too unsafe to leave their windows open.

  4. It's interesting how we each of us in this Round Robin experience the seasons in our own part of the world. I hadn't thought of how the location would play a part, Rhobin, but of course it would. I've enjoyed reading everyone's articles. Thanks again for organising a great topic.

  5. Most of us view the seasons as symbolic, but we often have different idea of the symbols. And I hadn't actually thought about the effect of locations. If they've never seen snow or been chilled to the bone, I'm wondering how they perceive it when they read about it. Beverley

  6. Sci-fi stories don't have seasons, after reading your post I realized this was true. As always, I look forward to your posts.

  7. Good take on how the seasons and their symbolism can affect our writing. Setting a story in a particular season in a particular place really grounds it for the reader.
    Sorry I am commenting so late.