Writing: The Great Escape
It’s bleak outside—probably in more ways than just the weather. Your energy is drained, and a nap is looking very appealing. Time to take a holiday? A vacation in sun? Absolutely! But the cost is not negligible. What if you could go away at no cost? Impossible, you say. Not at all; sit at your desk and start imagining. Writing can be a great escape.
You can zoom to the tropics or the other side of the world. Explore a castle, sail the Danube River or stay out of the sun in a Mongolian yurt. Rocket to Mars and live under a geodesic dome. You can meet characters of all varieties. There’s the leap-into-danger-without-thinking-of-the-consequences type, or the hide-under-the-covers-until-the-fly-goes-away type and everything in between. Villains can be serial killers that slash and dice, or an elderly couple making poison cookies as they laugh and chat with their neighbors. There are friends, pets, houses and stylish or sloppy clothes to dream up.
Once all these characters are on the page staring at you—with a "now what" expression—you can walk them through Paris or Singapore. Check out Google Maps and walk around with them. Let your characters go to museums and eat at cafés to share croissants. Soooo yummy. I’m nibbling on a mille-feuille on the Champ-Elysees as I type. Yummy and no calories. Imaginary food is great like that! And travel time? Mere minutes.
One of the greatest aspects of writing fiction is the ability to go somewhere else in your mind. I would never want to live in the 19th century, but it is a fun place to visit. I love the differences and the similarities—but my favorite, as I have mentioned before, is learning the odd quirks of people that lived in the past.
And so, as I sit at home—avoiding all but my nearest and dearest—I explore, invent and imagine. I lead my characters in and out of danger; in and out of love. Having a vivid imagination is a great boon, especially for an author.