I’ve just come back from a quick visit to London. I always claim these trips are ‘running away to the wicked city.’
Running away is an evocative idea. There can’t be many people who have not stood under a departure board at some time and briefly wondered about selecting a destination and just getting on the next train/boat/bus/plane. You can run away from, run away to, run away with …
A lot of characters in books are on the run in one way or another – from a threat, from an old life – when the book opens so many heroines are on the brink of a different life. They may be starting over (now that has a familiar ring to it) – but usually with plenty of baggage that somehow creeps into the new story. And it’s not just being physically on the run – it can be mental distance – a character who is in denial about the past, one who is trying to forget, to live down an event, to break with destructive behaviour, simply to live a different kind of life.
The choice of destination is often crucial to the story. Characters coping with a new lifestyle are interesting to write and to read. I like to send mine to beautiful places, then pull the rug out from under them, but that’s just me.
So – it’s Friday. The weekend is looming. Tonight thousands of people will be getting on planes, boats, trains, buses – or into their cars – to make a journey. If you were going on the run – where would you go?