What Writers Can Learn from Groundhog’s Day

Based on my previous What Writer’s Can Learn from posts, I wouldn’t blame you for expecting me to write about the character development of Phil Connors, the weatherman that is trapped in Punxutawny, Pa on a never ending Groundhog’s Day. I could write that post, but I’ve done that several times already and I have something different I want to talk about this month.

Phil Connors had an experience in the movie that is similar to reading a book. Think about that statement. Evey morning, Phil would wake up and it was the same exact day. None of the other characters in the story knew there was a difference. For them, each day had never happened. For Phil it was almost the exact same day.

Do you have a book that you have read a bunch of times? (I’ve got a bunch of them.) Each time you read that book, you are a different person, and you have a new experience with the book even though it hasn’t changed one letter.

I’ve been writing for a while and I expect that someone out there is wondering if I have a point here for writer. (Pro tip-Yes I do.)

Because Phil gets to experience the same day so many times (some guesstimates range from several month to many years, to 10,000 years.) Regardless of the actual amount, Phil lives in this single day and knows it better than any person has a right to know a single day.  He uses his time to learn French literature, how to play the piano, and how to make the lives of every single person in the town of Punxutawny better.

I’m not going to ask you to make the lives of all of your characters better because that would make your story less interesting, but I do want to ask you to get to know your world. What is going on in the background of the story? What are the seemingly insignificant elements that could add a touch of real life into your narrative? Could there be a character hiding in the shadows that should get some exposure? (Perhaps in another story if not this one.)

I know you can’t spend 10,000 years exploring the world of your story, but do us both a favor and explore some of the hidden places of your tale. I promise you that if you take this time, then you will find new and interesting ways to present your characters and their experiences.

Hope this helps someone out there,


PS. Immersing yourself in your fictional world will also help out with grammatical issues. ;)