The images are everywhere in January: beautiful beaches and turquoise skies, swimsuits, cocktails, sun loungers and gleaming skin. It's time to book our summer holidays. Even if we're not booking holidays now – or wouldn't fancy the ones in the adverts – it's hard not to get caught up in dreaming about places we might go, especially when most of us have spent so much time close to home over the past two years.
So pick a photo. What atmosphere does it convey? What characters do you imagine are in or around the edges of this scene? Is everything fine in Paradise or do you sense there might be undercurrents?
Try writing about people who have spent the whole of lockdown and the pandemic together under the same roof. Something about their relationship changes on the trip. What is it and how does this happen? You don't need to force this. Let your characters get into their holiday and watch it happen by itself. People behave differently far from home, dynamics shift naturally – for better or worse – and people see their lives at home with new perspective.
If you're already working on a story or a novel, try taking your characters out of your carefully plotted narrative and on an unexpected holiday just to see what happens. Something will.