Seeing with a Writer’s Eyes

Last night was our small town’s Christmas Walk. It’s an absolutely lovely event. The week before all the elementary school students hand-make ornaments and hang them on the big tree by City Hall. All the businesses set up beautiful window displays and lights and bake cookies (lots and lots of cookies :)).

On the big night, the streets are closed down and horse-drawn wagons and carriages line up. The high school jazz band plays, then at 6 p.m. the big pine is lit. The wagons start pulling loads of people from one end of town to the other, and people wander from store to store, munching on treats and buying Christmas presents or just visiting. One of the local farmers roasts chestnuts at curbside, passing them out to passersby. A group of carolers wanders past singing. If you want to take your kids to see Santa, he’s over at the bank.

It’s wonderful. My family and I look forward to it for weeks. But that’s the mom in me. The writer in me wonders what it would take to make it even more storybook.

Maybe I’d leave it the same and opt for a bittersweet homecoming or a lovely romance.

Maybe I’d put a dead body in an alley that disrupts all the festivities. Or how about a shady business deal cooked up in the back room and hidden in the glow of Christmas lights?

What if the cookies at the local business don’t just have sprinkles…they’re dusted with arsenic?

Does the Ghost of Christmas Past swoop in? Or is it a spy seeking one last safe house?

What if the hourglass for sale in the home furnishings store actually shoots you to another dimension when the last grain of sand trickles out?

People ask me where I get my ideas. I get them from things I see every day. Sometimes it just takes looking at the familiar with a new set of eyes.

What do you think? How would you rewrite the Christmas Walk?

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13 thoughts on “Seeing with a Writer’s Eyes

  1. A great idea, Wendy, but think of the poor kids! Flushing had an event just like this that they called Candlewalk. I just remember it was usually cold which made the free hot chocolate all the better, and our dentist, who’s office is right downtown, gave out tooth cookies!! Mysteries set in small towns are fun reads, and I think all your “options” are excellent, Theresa—I don’t have a writer’s eye, I’m afraid. Maybe I’ll work on that!

  2. I kind of dig the dead body in the Christmas tree (we do think alike, Wendy!) but I agree it would be pretty bad for the kids!

    I actually told my kids that one about the hour glass last night. We were having a hard time getting out of the store, and I told them we needed to skedaddle before the last grain fell or whoosh!

  3. What no werewolves running through town??? Maybe Mrs. Claus could run off with Father Time? I love your description of the walk. I wish everyone could experience something like this during Christmas…nothing like a small town.

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