It really is the end of summer now. In the Pagan/Wiccan calendar, Lunasagh marks the beginning of the harvest of foodstuffs to be stored and used through the fall and winter into Spring. In the old days, when icehouses stored winter ice cut out of ponds, lakes and rivers for use in the summer, people would find themselves coming to the end of their supply of ice. In truly hot, humid weather, that could become a burden.
If you pay attention to the rising and setting of the Sun and the Moon, then you will mark the Moon’s position in her relationship to the Sun through the seasons. Why bring this up? Partly because most of my life until I was an adult was spent on a farm or in farming country. I’m still conscious of the seasonal changes. The Farmer’s Almanac and the Old Farmer’s Almanac (two separate publications) have online presences as well as published print editions that give weather forecasts, tidal changes, the phases of the Moon, the planets in their various constellations, and all the other things that people who work in a ‘natural’ setting will notice more than those working indoors in an office. There is an article in my local newspaper noting that fewer and fewer people, adults and children alike, are spending time outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine for various reasons, and it does have a very real affect on their emotional state when they shut themselves up in buildings. They become more fractious, contentious and sometimes aggressive.
I love fantasy stories. Good fantasy storytelling is always something I look for. The things I’ve already mentioned – seasonal awareness, the effects of being outdoors versus indoors all the time, noticing changes in the sky in daytime and at night – are essential to making your people believable to your readers. This is what Tolkien did when he created the Universe of Middle-Earth.
I also love good science fiction. When Anne McCaffrey invented the world of PERN, she paid attention to those very things. Her people had to do so, or suffer the consequences. It’s as necessary to fantasy as it is to science fiction, both of which I grew up reading, and wondering if I could come close to telling tales that resonated with people the way the stories of J.R.R.Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and Robert Heinlein did.
If you are going to invent a Universe to populate with dragons and sea nymphs and Sea Kobolds (look that one up, it’s interesting), then I encourage you to fully understand that Universe yourselves. If you are going to write fantastical tales of Knights lost in a wilderness, find out why they are there in the first place, and then tell us what happened and how they’ll get out of this dilemma. How many will survive? What are they facing?
I have a good friend working on his first novel, trying to make it as good as he can, so my part in it is to ask him questions. What? Who? Where? When? How? Why? He will send me his chapters and I will send him mine. His is a world that is unique and has not been done before – or if it has been done, it did not last because it was not done very well by someone else and he’s found his stride in creating it.
I apologize for taking so long to write another post, but this is part of what happens when you do want to take your story from start to finish. Your blog posts become unintentionally sporadic. You forget to fix lunch and you drink ice tea (when it’s hot) instead of having breakfast, and find that you’ve shrunk a full dress size without trying. No harm in that. Just take your vitamins, get a ham and cheese sandwich and some grapes, and keep pecking the keys. And if you get stuck, don’t worry about it. Have something else you can turn to. And get outside in the fresh air occasionally. It will do you a world of good.