Coma Wedding Update as the End Nears

And the countdown continues. Only two scenes remain in the Coma Wedding outline.


So…I reworked one of the scene blurbs today for a reason that I think merit’s mentioning.


When I returned to the United States as a kid, I lived in Virginia and Massachusetts before moving out to California where I stayed until about 3 years ago. I’m still getting used to having seasons again when almost half my life was spent without significant ones.


Coma Wedding is a (largely) contemporary novel. It’s set in the southern East Coast, and it begins in March and carries through to early November.


I make a point of mentioning seasons, the turning of the leaves, the snow on the ground, the light turning dimmer, but I haven’t quite absorbed them into my psyche. On one side of my outline is a little counter. I say how many days have passed in the book, and it comes up with a date based on adding to the "base date" back in March. This helps me keep track of the big holidays that would have to have some, no matter how minor, impact on the story. Things like Fourth of July doesn’t slip by without someone mentioning it, without seeing a flag, or hearing a homegrown fireworks go off. Therefore, I need the calendar to make sure my characters notice costumed folks showing up on October 31st for example.


However, this also tells me what time of year the action is happening. As you might have guessed, two scenes from the end, I’m smack dab in the middle of November…in Virginia.


So two scenes ago, my heroine goes running outside with just an old gardening sweater as a coat. Some people can do that (like my kids) but to everyone else, she would be freezing. And so she is. I got the weather angle perfect there and even made it into a plot point :D.


But when I started into the next scene this morning and read over the blurb, I realized my outline failed to account for such a simple thing like season. I have them going out onto the porch in early evening for privacy…in NOVEMBER. It’s not like they’re going to bundle up first.


Since I didn’t want to end the book two scenes prematurely by myheroine either dying of pneumonia or slipping on the icy steps and breaking her neck, I fixed it in the actual draft, but the problem in my outline has served as a timely reminder of the importance of tracking the time line closely, and of the myriad of ways weather has an impact on the story.


So what are the ways you handle weather in your stories, whether driven by reality in a contemporary setting or by the climate forces you’ve put into place?



And stats:

New Words: 1371 words

80 scenes

78 complete – 98% of the novel

2 Scenes remain

2686 Remaining word count

107436 Estimated length – with an average of 1343 words per scene.

104750 Current Total

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4 Responses to Coma Wedding Update as the End Nears

  1. suelder says:

    wow. You’ve really made a lot of progress lately – go you!

    as for seasons, I’ve lived all my life in New Jersey – I can’t imagine what life is like without seasons. Well, not at the gut level, anyway.

    I do find that I tend to write the weather that I’m experiencing. If I’m trying to write a summer scene in winter, it turs into talking heads without any mention of the weather and if I start a new story it almost always takes place during the season I’m experiencing. Totally without planning it – it’s just the way I write.

    Good luck with Coma Wedding and all else!

    • marfisk says:

      Thanks :).

      Interesting take on my problem. Being unable to write out of season is basically the same thing.

      And let me tell you, if you move to a place like California, you’ll probably have the same problems. I have no way to say “this occurred in this month” or even “this year” because it’s always pretty much the same when you compare it to the big variations that clock time in New Jersey :).

      So how do YOU think thin Garden State Parkway smells? I ask everyone I know who drives it cause I used to track my progress between VA and CT by the smells, and now I can’t remember the order.

      • suelder says:

        Down south, near the shore, it smells like the ocean – hot tar in the parking lot specifically.

        Closer to Newark, it smells like car exhaust, to me.

        and further north, somehow The GSP smells like farms – specifcally apple farms because that’s how I get up to Tice’s Farm. Every autumn, we go up there for apple cider and fresh donuts. 😀

        Now, the Turnpike is different. Down south, by Philly, it tends to smell like car exhaust. Then, by exits 12 – 16, you get the oil refineries’ smell. And finally, up by where I live, I associate the smells with New York City. More cars and concrete I guess.



        • marfisk says:

          Sweet! Most people just look at me strangely (though maybe you did ;)) when I ask this question.

          I drove it frequently in 1987ish and there were three distinct segments that I remember, though I can’t recall the order.

          The scents were:

          Trees, pine maybe
          Industrial (there we cross over with your car exhaust)
          Oatmeal. Don’t ask me why…maybe that’s your farm area? Or who knows, maybe the ocean :).

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