Saturday, July 5, 2014

Picnics And Why I Use Them in Novels by Karen Rose Smith

When I write a series either in mystery or romance, I usually have a yearly cycle. One book takes place in the spring and/or summer. I always look for different ways for my characters to connect. But some traditional plot points usually work and I use them! One of those is a picnic. I employ picnics for many reasons. First, my characters are enjoying the outdoors and I can insert colorful descriptions.  In my mystery series set in Pennsylvania, it's fun to describe native plants and the flowers that grow in my own gardens. When I use a picnic for a scene setting, I can describe the uniqueness of that particular setting, the kind of flowers that bloom, the shrubbery native to the area, trees that are popular in that part of the country. We have a hummingbird garden, and these beautiful creatures visit us all summer.  Describing them is a joy.

 Now to the important part of the picnic—the feelings between the characters. If I show a family picnic, the reader can find out all about relationships between brothers and sisters and parents and friends. If it's a quiet picnic for two, anything can happen--from a tender kiss to a full-blown love scene in a secluded glen. The picnic sets up an automatically romantic setting. (BTW, ants and other creatures don't usually invade my picnics in romances though they might in mysteries!)

In real life, too, picnics are important. Right now, I'm planning a picnic for next weekend. We're gathering with neighbors and family. It will be a sharing time with lots of laughter and conversations. We're planning the usual hot dogs and burgers and turkey grillers along with my homemade baked beans, carrot salad, chips, chocolate cake, and my sleuth Caprice's choco chip cookies. (Recipe is on my mystery website. Caprice's Choco Chunks And Chips Cookies)  These are the times I remember when the snow is falling and we're separated from loved ones throughout the year. We take lots of pictures and when the gathering is over, we are looking forward to Labor Day weekend when we'll do it again.

Picnics will always be a part of some of my books because they bring out universal emotions and satisfy a need to be outdoors...with the folks we like and love most.

©2014 Karen Rose Smith

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