The holidays mark a time in not just American culture but in Western culture overall where there are endless possibilities for stories and ideas for stories. From the day you start to decorate your house for the season until the morning (or afternoon due to hangover…) of the New Year when you’re walking into the gym to start that most infamous of all New Year Resolutions, there are so many opportunities for little tidbits to develop. These tidbits can provide the basis for a good story or a subplot or some filler dialog for a larger story.
Writers are observers of real life, especially the mundane and minute details often overlooked. Real life and real people assist with providing the characters we come up with, the plots and subplots of stories, smaller characters that bring something to the larger story in a significant way, and the foundation often needed as a story’s frame of reference. The holiday period gives us more family interaction, social events, drinking, drama, eating, recipes, travel, warm and fuzzy feelings, nostalgia, religion, music, and of course conversation.
If you are working on a manuscript, use this time period to talk to your friends and family members about the kinds of insights your need that could help tell and write your story. I know I plan to. My next novel will involve a relationship between a step father and step daughter, and there are a few step fathers in my life. I have no idea what it feels like to be a step father. I also have no idea what it feels like to be a step child. Families and friends are the wells in which we draw to help us see, understand and then tell our story in different perspectives. It is how our stories make sense when we really have no first hand knowledge. Our best experts are the people closest to us.
This year, whenever you are dealing with holiday related events over the course of Thanksgiving and all through December, pay attention to these little gifts to your writing from real life gatherings during a typically happy time of year.