February 05, 2013

Writing About: Holidays

In our lives, we treat Thanksgiving (the day for giving thanks) and Christmas (a time for love and peace) with special importance. Then why can’t we give these holidays equal importance in the stories we write? We can! Even a thriller can step back from killings and drama to bring a little holiday cheer, even if it ends in killings and drama.

Diverting from the norm can actually be a relief to the reader, and can be an opportunity to reveal more about your characters. It can be a little writing vacation for you too.

To write a holiday such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, you can do one of two things:

1.    Think back on that Thanksgiving or Christmas in your past that was special to you and recreate it by substituting yourself and your family with the characters in your book. What made it memorable? What scents did you smell in the air? What goodies did you eat? What gifts did you give and receive? Use details from your memory to bring it to life again in your writing.
2.    Imagine the perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas that you wish you could experience in real-life. What would the tree and decorations look like? What food would be on the dinner table? Now think about how your characters would make it unique. What would they wear to this festivity? How would they contribute to the cheer? Describe it so that your readers can enjoy it too.
You can also do a combination of the two methods by using bits and pieces of your favorite holidays and blending them together with what you think would make the ultimate holiday.

For Chapter Two, I envisioned the most beautiful holiday that I could possibly give to my characters to make up for everything I’ve put them through.

QUESTION: Do you like it when authors describe holidays in their books?

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