I’m just going on holiday, and reflecting about how we can use holidays in fiction to reveal new aspects of our characters which might not show at home. A holiday can confine two people in a new place – tensions, rows and break-ups can ensue. A holiday can reveal the character’s dreams and look at how they cope when reality falls short. Couples can disagree about what to do on holiday – one of them wants to laze on the beach all day, the other wants to explore the city. Or one of them might get ill or lose their passport and tensions emerge.
A holiday creates a complete new change of scene – great for a change of page, colour, and location. Or you could set a whole short story on holiday, giving the story an exotic backdrop and reducing the cast of characters you need to good effect.
Even if your characters don’t actually go on holiday, just thinking about going away can help – think of a character musing about a holiday that never happens or fantasizing about what will happen when they go away. Also, try writing a dialogue between two characters about going on holiday. Do they diagree and argue about where to go? And are they really, under the surface, talking about something else? Write on and see if a subtext emerges.
And if you’re going on holiday yourself, why not take a notebook, and make some notes while you’re lazing by the pool or sitting in a cafe. And above all, enjoy your break!