I’d like to report that I had a relaxing, peaceful escape from writing over the Thanksgiving holiday. I’d like to, but I can’t. I did have a wonderful day, visiting friends who just moved into a beach house a couple of hours away. I loved getting out of my own neighborhood, loved the tour of their new digs, loved Kathie’s tasty, healthy dinner, loved socializing with two friends I’ve had for decades. But part of me never stops working. Across the road from their house is a vast range of rugged sand dunes, sprinkled with vegetation. I noticed a couple of people, both men, walking (well, trudging, really) separately through the dunes. There were so many hidden gullies between the hillocks, and with so few people about, I thought “what a great place to murder someone.” The surf would cover any noise. It gets cold at the beach and there are plenty of times when any potential witnesses would be cuddled up inside beside their fireplaces. The setting was so picturesque. Now all I need is a motive and a couple of suspects. I’m already describing the characters in my mind. They would have to be fit and young. Those dunes looked pretty daunting. They’re hard to get to, so whoever is there either came in a vehicle or lives nearby. It’s too cold and remote for panhandlers or the homeless to be hanging about. So, the killer and the victim both . . . and on and on.
This scenario might never result in a story. But writers do this unceasingly. Observe, speculate, muse. On settings, people, atmosphere. I never get tired of that, so I never need a day off. Just as well, cuz my mind never takes one.