Seasonal Stories by Allison Symes

 Image Credit:  Images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos

Given we are now in the season of Advent, it is appropriate to think about seasonal stories as we consider what is, for us, the Ultimate Story. Do you write any seasonal stories, whether it is for Christmas, Easter, Harvest etc?

I write festive flash fiction and those are fun but most of what I write is suitable for all year round. That gives me flexibility to decide when to submit my pieces. Having said that, I’ve enjoyed writing tales about Santa’s elves going on strike on Christmas Eve and Santa himself being pulled over for speeding. Festive flash should be fun.
 

 
 
For most seasonal markets, you must submit several months ahead of the event. It is why Christmas story writers for the women’s magazine market will be submitting their work in June or earlier, depending on the individual magazine’s requirements.

The positive thing is you can plan ahead. After all the themes of Christmas do not change - love, redemption - and indeed those themes can trigger other ideas for tales which may not have to be time dependent. So why not look at what the theme(s) would be behind seasonal stories and write to that? 

Equally if you want to write for the Christmas story market, you could plan and write your story now ready for submission in 2023.

The flip side of this is reading seasonal stories. I will dig out Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather soon. Naturally A Christmas Carol will be on my to be read list though I often take that in via The Muppet Christmas Carol. It is a fantastic rendition. How can you not love Gonzo, as narrator/Charles Dickens, recommending you to read the book at the end of the film? Sir Michael Caine was fabulous as Scrooge too.

Other than the Nativity, are there seasonal stories you would like to recommend to MTW readers? Are there aspects to the Nativity you could write about? I often wonder about how Mary must have felt as she gave birth, for example. Was she scared? Who did she have helping her - the innkeeper’s wife for example?   

It isn’t just about traditional stories either. Many of the carols are stories in song and even something like my favourite, In the Bleak Midwinter, started life as a poem. I find that encouraging. Christina Rossetti would not have foreseen her wonderful poem becoming a much loved carol. (Before you ask, I like the Darke tune but the ultimate tune has to be the Holst one, so there!).

 

So for the poets amongst us, could you write a seasonal story in poetry? 

For the flash and short story writers, how could you bring in the seasons to your writing? 

For the novelists, could you use the seasons as a useful backdrop to what your character is going through? What would their attitudes be towards Christmas, for example? If they’re hostile to it, why is that and how would that impact on their attitude to others?

Happy (seasonal) writing!




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