Better to travel…

There you are , not sure how to open your story.  You don’t really want to fire off all your exciting stuff immediately, – how could you build a crescendo from there? You could do worse than start with a journey.

Your reader will appreciate being introduced to your central character by herself, and then secondary characters individually. This can happen naturally with the preparations for a voyage or trip. How and what  your central character packs, for example, can say a lot about her. It’s not unlikely that further characters could board the bus, or walk up the gangplank one-by-one, giving your reader time to see them separately at the very least.

Another advantage of travel in fiction is the setting. You have the opportunity to show minor characters going about their business in active and interesting harbours, airports etc. and interacting with your main character. You also have the reaction of the main character to the place and its challenges – how does she cope?

There is nothing forced about description of a new place animated by action. There’s nothing forced about showing the reader a situation which is strange to your main character, so that’s all good too. You have forward movement because your character is doing something: the sense of place is integral to the small dramas like getting a visa stamp, misunderstandings about customs or simply choosing food.

And these little things, these mundane events can evolve. An insignificant interruption might lead to a delay. The delay might mean missing the connection, missing the connection might lead to a stay in a hotel on the wrong side of the tracks and so on. It could be comic, it could be tragic – but consequences of even a straightforward journey could be huge.

So if your writing’s going nowhere, try taking a holiday. Who knows where it might lead?

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