Good morning! Our guest author for today’s quick-write is the lovely & talented Anne Marie Pace!
Anne Marie is the author of VAMPIRINA BALLERINA and its just-released sequel, VAMPIRINA BALLERINA HOSTS A SLEEPOVER, both illustrated by LeUyen Pham and published by Disney-Hyperion. She has also written A TEACHER FOR BEAR and NEVER EVER TALK TO STRANGERS for Scholastic Book Clubs. You can find a wonderful teachers’ guide for VAMPIRINA BALLERINA at Anne Marie’s website, http://www.annemariepace.com.
You’ll have to forgive me if I seem dreamy; as I write this, I’m physically at home, jotting notes down between driving kids to activities and doing laundry, but my head and heart are still walking along the shore of Folly Beach, South Carolina, searching for a perfect shell. For a variety of reasons, it was our first family vacation in four years. My vacation week has inspired this quick-write exercise for you today.
Choose a character, either one from your work-in-progress or a character you create just for this exercise. Don’t feel you need to answer these questions one at a time. Read them through with this character in mind, and then write something in response: a letter, a poem, a journal entry, a descriptive paragraph–whatever flows.
First: Has this character ever gone on a vacation? If your character is from the type of family that takes yearly trips, what was the favorite? Why? Does she go on the same trip every year? Who is there? What does she like to do there? Is it boring or comforting to go to the same place? How does she feel if that trip changes? Or is it a different trip every year? If so, how does she feel about changing it up all the time? Does she like exploring new places or does she regret being unable to return?
At the other end of the spectrum, perhaps your character has never been on vacation. Why has she been unable to vacation? Is it financial or is there another reason? How far has she been from home? Are there any events she looks forward to during summer? Does she have friends who are able to vacation with their families? Is she jealous? Is she happy for them? Would she be scared to leave home? Does she have a dream place to vacation? Is there something she could do to make a vacation possible (win a contest, win the lottery, convince a neighbor or friend to do something that relieves parental stress)?
Note: These questions are somewhat slanted towards contemporary fiction. If you are writing in another genre, feel free to replace “vacation” (in our contemporary sense) with “travel.” If the setting of your story is a world you have built, how does that world deal with a desire to travel and/or rest? How does your character feel about those societal customs or expectations
Now: Think about what you have discovered about your character. What part of that person is illuminated? Is there a parallel between your character’s experiences on vacation and what she is facing today? How might this revelation develop or connect to your plans for your work?