Taking a Sunday Drive

Hi, SE friends! Mae, here. Well, sort of.  🙂

As you read this, I am on a week-long vacation in the Pine Tree State of Maine. My wonderful SE colleagues have agreed to cover for me by answering comments, but I  want this to be a leisurely post . . . like a Sunday drive.

Do you remember Sunday drives?  Way back in the days of big cars and low gas prices, my parents used to pack the family into our Chevy Biscayne and off we’d go exploring. Now I’m sure my father had a route in mind, but to me it always seemed like a spontaneous journey with adventure waiting around every turn.  If we were coming up on a road and I asked, “Dad, where’s that lead?” he’d say “I don’t know, let’s find out,” and off we’d go on what seemed like a shiny quest—where does the road end?

country road with trees on either side

My characters tend to be like that when I’m writing. I often don’t know how they’re going to respond if I put them in a given situation. I’m mostly a panster when it comes to plotting­—although I am making a valiant effort to reform and do some plotting. Even so, I rarely have a clear vision of where the road ends. Sure, I’ve got a vague idea (otherwise I wouldn’t have started the story in the first place) and I know some of the twists and turns along the way, but the path is never clearly defined. Like the roads on those long-ago Sunday drives, it’s an adventure, dictated by my characters. They control the steering wheel. Sometimes I’ll dangle a plot twist and ask “where does that lead?”  My characters, like my father, will answer “I don’t know, let’s find out,” and I’m racing ahead on that same shiny quest of adventure.

I treasure the memory of Sunday drives. A little of that whimsy makes its way into everything I write. After all, what is a story without wondering where the road ends?

We talk about characters a lot, but today I’d really like to know—do you remember Sunday drives? Taking one may just be good for inspiring creativity. What do you think?

Ready, set, go!

Bio box for author, Mae Clair

40 thoughts on “Taking a Sunday Drive

  1. I can’t say I remember Sunday drives, but I do remember road trips. I loved them so much that I now go on summer road trips with my parents and my son almost every year. There is just something so special about getting in a car (or truck) and taking off for a new adventure. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s wonderful to come back from vacation to all of these wonderful comments. Thank you Joan and Craig for fielding things for me while I was away. It’s wonderful reading all these comments that touch on memories of Sunday drives. Those were special times for me and it seems for many others as well. It was fun to tie those memories to how my characters behave today. I’m glad everyone was able to appreciate the connection as well. Many thanks to all for commenting!

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  3. Boy it makes me feel good to hear you’re (mostly) a panster! After writing my book 1 and starting on book 2 of my current series I realise just how much of a panster I am. I’m certainly driving on an unknown highway with my characters firmly steering the wheel!

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  4. I remember taking an entire vacation with my parents like that. We started from home, in Northern Italy, and ended up in Britain in the north of France. We didn’t have an itinerary, we didn’t have reservations for hotels, we just went exploring. We visited some beautiful places!
    When it comes to writing I’m more of a plotter, but I explore a lot while outlining. The good thing about plotting is that I don’t have to rewrite the entire story if something doesn’t work, just 20 or so pages of outline.
    Great post, it’s been a while since I thought about that trip to France!

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  5. I love the analogy. It fits. My husband and I still take Sunday drives. There’s something about getting away from the house that’s more relaxing than staying home and reading or watching TV. We use the time to catch up with each other. It’s a great bonding day. Sometimes, in bad weather, we go to movies instead, but there’s not much talking during those:)

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    • That’s wonderful, Judi! While my husband and I don’t do Sunday drives, we’ll often “take the long way home.” Last Saturday, we went out for dinner, then decided to drive around for a while. You are right, it’s relaxing and a good time to connect.

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  6. That sounds like so much fun. Often my mom and I would take Sunday drives “around the block.” We lived in the country, so the “block” was five miles. 🙂 I learned to drive on that stretch of road. Great memories.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I love this post, Mae! It brings back memories of Sunday drives with my grandparents. They would come by every Sunday after church and pick up my brother and I for a leisurely drive ‘around the loop’, as they called it- a country road that circled our small town. It was much like the road you pictured above 🙂 Grandpa would tell us to look for deer and then laugh when we searched the treetops. Fond, fond memories ❤

    Liked by 5 people

  8. We used to do those Sunday drives. Not every week, but they were fun. The best ones were around the holidays when we got to see the light and decorations. We did that with our kids too. We took a few leisurely drives, but then they got into every activity under the sun and the drives became races to get everyone where they needed to be. I miss those day. We had great conversations and lots of laughter. We did the holiday lights too. Now, I don’t think anyone takes that Sunday drive.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. I remember sitting in the rear facing seat in the station wagon and making an adventure of it. Sometimes I was driving, sometimes I was trying to escape from bad guys and sometimes I was trying to find my missing older brother (I am the oldest, so not sure where that came from). Long drives definitely can free the imagination 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  10. My family never did that, but we’d have to go really far to get out of suburbia. Doesn’t help that we’re on an island, so you can only wander so far before the car goes glub. Although we’d bike ride around the area every now and then. Enjoy your trip.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I do remember Sunday drives with my grandmother. Just going wherever the car took us. My husband and I still like to do that, especially in the fall or spring and just explore. I agree writing can be a lot lime that process.

    Liked by 5 people

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