“No holidays, no country.”

Toba Beta, Master of Stupidity, c/o Good Reads.

As holidays are pretty much common to all countries and communities in one form or another, they can work for different periods in history – or futurity – and be a point of reference in fantasy. Dragons might like a day off, too.

The word ‘holiday’, fairly unsurprisingly, comes from the Anglo Saxon haligdæg or Holy Day. In this more secular age, we tend to think of it as a time of recreation, of just fun – but I’d suggest re-creation would be a great way of thinking about holidays from the point of view of a storymaker.

[I include writers and illustrators here] 

It is always interesting to see someone in a period of change. Holidays and little trips out make ideal sequences to show a character changing - or revealing themselves. Think of Chaucer’s Canterbury pilgrims.

I’m going to suggest three aspects of holidays that might inspire the storymaker in you – Preparation, Journeying and Arrival. These are key phases where what a character does will tell the reader a good deal about them.

  • What will your character pack?
  • What might she leave out?
  • Will she forget something important? 

  • What will your character anticipate?
  • How will he react to the change of scene?
  • Will the journey be eventful? 

  • Will she think to help unload?
  • Will she wander off full of delight and hope?
  • Are there things she will hate or fear?

I am sure you will think of many more questions yourself – but I hope these might get you sketching out some ideas.

K.M. Lockwood July 2013 

K. M. Lockwood is a writing name of Philippa R. Francis. Once a primary school teacher, she became a graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at West Dean College in 2011. Her story The Selkies of Scoresby Nab was short-listed for the Mslexia Children’s Novel Competition and long-listed for the Times Chicken House in 2012/13. She was born in Yorkshire but now lives by the coast in Sussex. Her writing shows her deep fascination with British folklore and the sea. Her interests include reading, scuba diving and belly dancing, though not at the same time. She also blogs at the-wedding-ghost.blogspot.co.uk


  1. Gosh, Philippa, I really fancy having a go at a Dragon going on holiday. Perhaps s/he could fly Ryanair with one tiny little bag.

    1. Love that picture, Rowena and love these imagination prodding pieces:)

  2. There are a few things you should also not do in order to have a great summer vacation. First, try to avoid traveling during peak times, this means long weekends in the summer, unless you are a sucker for punishment. It also means rush hours in the city if you are driving, try to plan your time around these hours this post


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