For Writers: How to Take Your Character on Vacation

stef-pictureI want to give you all a little tasty morsel of the juicyness of my buddy Stefanie Lipsey’s style of inspiring writers… We are co-hosting the Writing and  Yoga Retreat 2013 at The Glen Cove Mansion next week (for those of you who are living under a rock or really haven’t been paying attention to anything I’ve been saying.) So after yoga, where we’ll stretch our bodies and spirits, and after a delicious breakfast (which hopefully we’ll be able to eat al fresco, weather depending), we’ll head into a morning writing workshop. We’re going to focus on Character, Voice and Setting at the retreat, and we’ll be doing that in many ways. For now though, here’s a sample of one of Stefanie’s Writing Yoga writing prompts, this one about character, which Stefanie gives away to her blog subscribers…

Packing for Two: You and Your Character on Vacation

(Summer Writing Prompt by Stefanie Lipsey)


I’m not going to buy her a plane ticket, but I’m taking her hiking in the desert. She has a secret desire to become an archeologist, and thinks that she might stumble upon ancient ruins at the airport in Albuquerque. I don’t have the heart to tell her she should start with an Archeology 101 class at Nassau Community College before she quits her day job at the mall.

So that’s a bit about Julissa, the main character of a novel I’m just about done revising. I know she’s made up, but we’ve been hanging out together for twenty years and she still surprises me. Keep surprising me, Julissa, because as Robert Frost said, “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.”

Take your character on vacation. When you order lunch, what does she eat?  Is her nasty shellfish allergy going to put her in a state of anaphylaxis?  Is she a pleasant traveler or does she scream, “We’re gonna die!” at every bout of turbulence? Write in detail about the experience, but do not include any judgement. Just the facts.

Take a break. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s summer. Now is the perfect time to read a great book, swim under the hot sun, take long walks and rejuvenate. Go on a retreat. It’s a gift you deserve. No guilt allowed!

So, if you haven’t done so already, invite your characters to join us next week on the Writing and Yoga Retreat! I just got a new bathing suit for the hot tub… I mean, I’ve been sharpening my pencils and limbering my yoga poses! (…and looking forward to martinis in the pub!)

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One response to “For Writers: How to Take Your Character on Vacation

  1. I love the idea and will definitely take my new characters on vacation. Right now they swim with me while I do laps and I just learned yesterday that Lena sold bedroom slippers in A&S in 1923. Why did that come to me on my lap around the pool? Must be some reason… Your retreat sounds fabulous. Sorry I couldn’t make it this year. Maybe next if you do it again. Have a wonderful time and experience.