Monday, December 3, 2012

Are Holidays As Setting A Good Plot Element?

By Ruby Johnson
There are novels everywhere this time of year that use the weather and the holidays as a setting.
Many authors use travel to unique cities, going home, family, old romances revived,secret babies, mysteries, poor kids, special religious groups,Christmas tree lots, parades as part of their stories. Three books below are descriptions of what I'm talking about.

Christmas at Tiffany's by Karen Swan
I know they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but the moment I saw this cover, with the image of that lone girl walking through snow, I wanted to discover the story behind the cover.
CHRISTMAS AT TIFFANY'SThis is the story of protagonist Cassie who suddenly finds herself on a plane to New York contemplating starting her whole life over again. Her friends try to help Cassie discover exactly who she is by inviting her to live with each one of them in New York, Paris and finally, London. Cassie adjusts to her new life, and the reader experiences New York City, Paris and London through her eyes. The sights, the smells and the tiny details added into the description of the city puts you in Central Park with Cassie as she suffers through the morning jog from hell! Each city in the book is described so well that it’s impossible not to feel like you are there.
The author succeeds in keeping us hooked as we travel to each friend’s city and the settings truly add to the story of a wounded woman trying to find herself.

Another book which who uses the holiday to great advantage is Family Christmas in Riverbend by Shirley Jump. In the story the Christmas tree lot is an element in the plot of the story. Olivia Perkins moves herself and new baby to live in Riverbend, Indiana, a town she fell in love with the previous year. What she isn't anticipating is to run into, Edward, her former lover and the father of her daughter. Edward left Livia because he felt he couldn't give her the family and marriage she wanted. Things change when he discovers that he can work through his doubts, but would Livia want him after all the hurt he has caused her?

And finally an old favorite A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.Written in a six-week period in October and November of 1843, the novel was the first of five short Christmas books published by Charles Dickens. Obviously, it was the most successful novel in the series. In fact, he was so certain that people would like his story that he refused to sell the rights to his publisher and instead paid to publish it himself. His instincts proved correct, and soon after its publication, all of the copies were sold. A Christmas Carol is set in a poor section of London, England, during the Industrial Revolution (1800s). The book takes place mainly in Scrooge's business, Scrooge's house, and Bob Cratchit's house.

What settings in books do you remember? Do you think setting is as important as characters ?
Ruby Johnson is blog coordinator and current treasurer for Greater Fort Worth Writers.She is a member of several writers organizations and chapters of RWA . She got the writing bug in high school when she won an award from the National Teachers of English, and transfered that love through college into her professional life as a certified registered nurse anesthetist practitioner. She has won short story contests, published in the AANA Journal and has contributed to Hospital Topics and a book on Hospital Management. She currently writes medical suspense.

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1 comment:

Caroline Clemmons said...

Ruby, although I enjoy reading holiday themed books at the proper time of year, I've only written one. I prefer to write books to which readers can relate at any time of year. I do plan to write a Christmas novella before next December, though, so I won't feel left out at promo time next December. ☺

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