Wonderful things happen when you drop everything (after much planning and anticipation) and go on a vacation. Especially when you make a point on that vacation to put as much space between you and your electronic devices. Anyone who’s done this will likely tell you it’s an invigorating experience to go through a few hours—or maybe a whole day–without a phone to check or email to answer. But for a writer, I’d venture that the discoveries beyond simple and glorious peace of mind go much further. Little epiphanies have come when I have leased expected them.
I’ve struggled with what to name the father in my story, and it hit me while sitting under a tent on the beach overhearing a mom shout for her young son in the sand. I’d been trying to think of a sort-of trendy name for the patriarch of this book that takes place in the near future. Hearing that name on the beach clicked in my brain.
Being on a barrier island (albeit in New Jersey instead of in Florida) and taking in the geography during long walks into town and on the sand have helped me work out some of the logistical details of my story. The way the town is set up. The way one character explains a situation to another. The way one character figures out a secret about another when they first meet. These elements will seem tiny in the grand scale of the book, but are essential for the reader’s understanding.
And there’s the reading! Since I’ve been with my family I’ve finished two books, one of them Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. It’s been years since I read this book and I chose it on purpose: to help determine whether I want to gear my story to a young-adult audience. I can’t say my story is nearly as action-packed as Collins’, but I’m now sure that I want to head in the YA direction.
Needless to say, I feel refreshed heading back into my draft!