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Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A. Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lessons Learned on Vacation

I was on vacation last week -- a family reunion of sorts. We all met at a huge house in the mountains of Virginia. The photo is the view from the back deck, Massanutten Mountain (Shenandoah Chain) is barely visible through the trees. We strode through underground caverns, walked Civil War battlefields,  hiked steep mountain trails, ate great food, drank wine, played group games and reconnected with nature and one another.

Although the trip had nothing to do with my work, I couldn't help but glean some writerly lessons to share:-)

First and most important - families have lots of secrets, baggage carried from childhood that shape who we are and how we relate to others. That baggage can be one event viewed completely differently from the parties involved. (Lots of writing fodder gathered.)

Second, some of that baggage is better left unopened. I got to thinking that airing dirty laundry isn't always necessary or wise. Sometimes back story can be kept in the character's head and can be just as powerful if no one but that character knows about it.

Sometimes the very best story ideas are right under my nose! We had humor, drama, mystery and even shades of tragedy. The ideas are flowing through me and I'm taking notes!

Finally - and this has nothing to do with writing - drivers on cell phones are a major road hazard. EVERY time we encountered someone driving erratically, they were talking on the phone. Yes - every single time, and there were many of them out there. (I'll step down off the soap box now).

Overall, I don't feel a shred of guilt for completely ignoring my WIP and all my social networking. I had a good time and reconnected with the people who matter most in my life. Did you take a vacation this summer? If so, did you take away any lessons from your adventures?

19 comments:

MaureenAMiller said...

Congratulations on your well-deserved time away! I missed you.

Yes, interaction with family can often glean both pleasure and drama. There is definitely material there for a great novel. :)

KC Burn said...

Everyone needs a break - you shouldn't feel guilty at all although we all know how hard it is to turn off the characters in our heads! Sounds like you had a great time - welcome back!

Wynter Daniels said...

Thank you, Maureen. I didn't want to actually take notes while I was there;-) but I have lots of fodder and am now devising a plot!

Wynter Daniels said...

I did have a great time, KC - thanks. The live characters around me usurped the ones in my head!

Shirley Wells said...

It sounds like the perfect holiday (and we have the same problem with mobile phone users/drivers in the UK).

I had family to stay for a fortnight and I was reminded of the power of young children's imaginations. Their world of magic, make believe and adventure astounds and delights me.

Wynter Daniels said...

Can you tell the phone issue bugs me to no end?;-) Young children are amazing. Since my own kids are basically adults now, it was good to be reminded how incredible a young imagination can be!

JB Lynn said...

It's amazing how much fodder families can provide. ;-)


I'm with you about drivers on their cell phones. Did you know that studies have shown it's the equivalent of driving drunk?!?!

Wynter Daniels said...

Absolutely, JB. I've seen a demonstration on Myth Busters. Scary how many people ignore the obvious!

Toni Anderson said...

Wynter--I think getting away from it all is the only way to truly relax. And my family are def fodder for stories. For sure :)

Wynter Daniels said...

I agree, Toni. A "stay-cation" wouldn't do it for me since I work from home.

Rita said...

BREAKS ARE GOOD!
I think we need to have a system for letting other drivers a person in a car is on the phone. Like yellow paint in a water gun. When we see a celldriver we squirt their car with paint.

Wynter Daniels said...

Great plan, Rita! And I'd do it if I wouldn't get in all sorts of trouble;-)

Marcelle Dubé said...

Glad you had a chance to reconnect with your family, Wynter. It's so important, I find. And getting away lets you recharge your batteries as a human being and as a writer.

As for "marking" drivers who use their cell phones while driving, how about a little roof-mounted cannon?

Toni Anderson said...

Marcelle--I've noticed a certain blood thirsty nature :) And a liking for cannons.

Wynter Daniels said...

Thanks, Marcelle. Roof-mounted cannon? Brilliant!

Kathy Ivan said...

Glad you had a great time on your vacation. I work at home, too, so I completely understand why a "stay-cation" doesn't cut it.

Family can be such exceptional fodder for our stories, though, can't they? They just seem to bring out the creative side in us, no matter where we are.

Wynter Daniels said...

Thanks, Kathy. I found myself standing back and observing a lot, saving the emotional scenes in my writer's mental briefcase!

Marcelle Dubé said...

Toni: And you've only seen my gentler side.

Clare London said...

Lovely post :). I think holidays should be built into the writing schedule anyway. There are days I feel if I touch another keystroke I'll scream :). Lucky for the family, that rarely actually happens...

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