At this time of year, people are counting down the days left of school and work, Christmas shopping, getting those last minute bits done in the house before they trim up for the festive season. Writers however, are thinking about spring, Easter eggs and warmer weather. Not just thinking either, they are writing about it too. Writing short stories for publications is seasonal. If you are thinking of submitting a Christmas story to an editor in December, chances are that it will come back rejected, as their magazine stories were already selected months ago.
Writers are a strange bunch, always thinking ahead. Writing about the Easter bunny whilst huddling the radiator for warmth in November, and in summer, we sit in our gardens, cold drink in hand, and write about eggnog and snow topped romance.
What makes a good Christmas story?
The fact is – not everyone’s Christmases are happy. They bring to mind the ones we have lost, the people we miss around the dinner table, and in these fraught financial times, it causes some stress and worry too.
What makes a Christmas for you? The glamorous nights out, in sparkly heels? The children’s faces when they come downstairs in soft slippers to see if Santa has been? The family, filling your home with cheer and laughs? It means different things to everyone, but for me, a Christmas story’s vital element is HOPE.
With the war between Christmas adverts taking shape this year, the winning one for me was the Amazon advert. Two men of religion, buying each other a gift in love and friendship. It gave me hope for the future, which is sorely needed in these turbulent times. Stories are escapism, and Christmas is a broad subject. Writers can write about the lonely side of Christmas, the sad edge of the festivities, or immerse us in the full spirit of Christmas at its nutcracking best. Either way, a Christmas themed story should leave a warm feeling inside us, make us grateful for what we have, or inspire us for the future.
So enjoy Christmas everyone, and remember the best parts of this special time – it will make it easier to conjure up visions of gingerbread houses and tinsel in the height of flip flop and ice cream weather.