It’s Christmas Eve, for those of you who celebrate. But, it’s also Sunday Post Day for me. To begin, I am wishing you all a Merry…everything you celebrate, believe in, and/or value as a custom this time of year. A sincere Merry-Merry to you all!
As for my writing advice, I’ve just tried something new below. I’m calling it a Glimpse: Take a memory from one of the characters in your book and extend upon it in a way you wouldn’t be able to in the story. In honor of the season, I chose one about Christmas.
Here is a glimpse into one of my character’s memories from my book, Seam Keepers. The story begins in the Springtime of Ashton and Mason’s senior year of high school. This memory would have occurred from the Christmas before. It is from Mason’s point of view, although never happened in the actual story, but parts of it were alluded to. These are the parts I’ve drawn out below as a deeper glimpse into their backstory:
Socks or Chocolate
“You know, we can always change tradition.” Mason spoke over the roar of holiday cheer. Bells and Drummer Boy beats undulated along the Mall’s evergreen swags.
Ashton’s look of surprise distorted into a glare, challenging the brightest of reindeer noses.
“I mean slightly enhance it, like Christmas 2.0.” He slid further down the rail, and out of slugging reach. The Santa-craze a floor below carried on like ants marching in step, each insect towing the line dutifully. The route switched back and forth around multiple displays of poinsettias and fake Santa elves, somehow lessoning the agony of long wait-time…for them, the parents with fidgeting, crying children. For Mason, he identified with the masses of unruly youth. He was that restless boy, not that he remembered his mom taking him to see Santa. His memories of her had slipped further away the older he’d grown. He’d been far too young when she had died.
“We hit Christmas 2.0 five years ago when you refused to take Santa pictures.” She tossed her hair behind her back and turned away.
He tugged on a strand, willing his art of distraction to turn her around. It was their annual Christmas trip into the city. “Don’t you think it’s time for chocolate?”
Her head swung to the side, and though her profile was perfectly neutral against the blinking backdrop of the season, he knew her stone expression was forgiveness. She never stayed mad for long.
She turned to face him, returning a yank to one of his stray blonde curls, scattered in every direction from the excess static this time of year. “We need one more gift.”
He lifted an eyebrow.
“For your dad,” she whispered as if the words were forsaken.
Mason rolled his eyes, and pushed off the railing. “Socks.” He headed in the direction of Au Chocolate. He was ready for his annual treat, Ashton’s bribe to get him Christmas shopping every year.
“Mas, we have to. It’s Christmas.”
“Fine, socks.” He kept walking, ignoring the twitch in his right eyebrow.
She caught up to him, pulling his shoulder to stop any progress he’d made through the crowds. “Mas—”
“Seriously, socks. He doesn’t care.” Mason cursed his inability to be gentle with the topic of his dad, and the part of himself that felt just like him.
“I let you give him socks last year. And besides, this might be your last Christmas with him. We’ll be away at college next year. What if you don’t come home?”
The air grew cool around them, even amidst the sweltering heat inside his fleece. There was more to that argument, he knew full well. “I will always come home to you… always.” His voice softer. Why couldn’t she let go of her fear about going to separate schools? This was just something he needed to do. But even gone, he couldn’t imagine his life without her. She’d been his rock since he was five, held him together after his mom died. She was the patch between him and his still-grieving, work-a-holic dad.
“You say that now, but what if something happens?”
“Nothing’s going to happen. Our lives aren’t that exciting, Ash.”
“But, I won’t see you every day like I have for the last thirteen years.”
Mason dangled his cell phone in front of her eyes until they shined in defeat, like blue ripples of water fading out of view. They’d gone over it a hundred times. One hundred different scenarios that always involved their futures connected in some aspect. She might not be his girlfriend, but she was more than that. There wasn’t a category for their relationship; he would always love her.
“Okay, okay.” She gave in, and pulled his arm in the direction of Au Chocolate. “We’ll give your dad chocolate.”
“Oh no.” He halted suddenly, breaking their connection. “Chocolate is our thing. He’s not getting any.”
“Well, we can always change tradition,” Ashton chimed. “Like Christmas 3.0.”
Mason smirked. “Touché.”
Hopefully you can tuck any family drama you might be experiencing (like Mason) away for a short time, and enjoy the season. Maybe you might find a few extra moments of quiet time where you can take a “glimpse” into one of your character’s past memories. It certainly helped me discover some of my character’s feelings I hadn’t realized before. And, it was fun!
Happy Holidays from Steps In Between to you and your families. I am sending blessings towards your creative endeavors, as well. May the end of this year be full of reflection and wisdom for the new year to come.
Happy Writing (because at least you’re writing),
Celaine Charles, December 24, 2017
Categories: Thoughts on writing...