Sunday, April 28

Mom always liked you better.


       
  Although we grew up in the same house with six years separating us, my brother and I are polar opposites. If he were to observe that it’s raining, I would say, Yes, but it’s going to stop any minute. If I said I had a headache, he would say, Yes, but I have a migraine. I am the youngest child, he is in the middle of the five of us, but when I looked up personality according to birth order, the descriptions didn’t have much to do with us. Although we care for each other, we are not friends. We don’t talk much. If I am totally honest, I will admit resentment probably clouds our perceptions where the other one is concerned.
          That being said, when the five of us are together, it is fun and affectionate. We laugh at the same things, marvel that our memories are as different as if we hadn’t grown up together, and vow that we will see each other more often. But we don’t.
          I like writing people who are easy to identify with. My heroines are never feisty and my heroes are never alpha (unless they’re truly ticked off—then they have their moments). My protagonists are nice-looking but never gorgeous, built okay but never a size two. A six-pack in a Liz Flaherty book always refers to beer, never to abs. They are people like ones I know, not ones I envy or disbelieve. (This doesn’t make my people better or worse than feisty, alpha, great-looking heroes and heroines—it’s just how I like them.)
          But the sibling connections I write about are nothing like the relationships I have with my sister and brothers. Things are, I guess, how I wish they were. I remember being disappointed that LaVyrle Spencer often left the sibling relationships in her books unresolved at the stories’ end. But those endings were more realistic than I would have written them.
          It’s interesting to me that I want my protagonists to be people I know and am comfortable with, but I want their brothers and sisters to be the size-two and six-pack-abs of siblinghood.
          How about you? What role do siblings play in your stories, or in your life? Do they make a difference in how you write?

12 comments:

  1. I'm the oldest of three. I have one brother and one sister. We're not close either, which is strange considering my sister lives one street over. Of all the characters I've written, only one has had a sibling, and she didn't know about him until she was an adult.

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  2. Hi, Shawn. Isn't that funny--most of mine don't have siblings, either, but when they do, it's amazing how important the siblings get!

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  3. I don't tend to have a lot of siblings in my stories, but I do like to complicate family relationships. I find they are more interesting that way! (Although, I'm sure there is a fair dose of fantasy in them, too...)

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  4. Complicated is good, I think, especially if family relationships (at least in the books we write)! In real life, I'm in the middle, but am the baby - that's because there's my older brother and I are 3 years apart...and then 9 years later, here came my younger siblings. We're all working on that closeness factor, but we're more friendly than sibling like. At least the picture perfect siblings we see on television. I've written siblings and only children..but I like the complicated-siblings best. At least right now.

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  5. Patricia and Kristina, thanks for coming by. I like to read complicated relationships, but sometimes I want to WRITE uncomplicated ones--at least as far as siblings go. :-)

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  6. I am one of two, and because of my paternal grandfather, we are estranged. I tweeted.

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  7. That is so sad, Ella, because regardless of fault, it leaves an empty place. I hope things clear up someday. Thanks for tweeting!

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  8. I never realized this before, but most of my MC's are only children. Mmmm. I, on the other hand, am the oldest of three girls. My youngest sister is my closest friend while the middle sister and I have finally developed a relationship that doesn't thrive on animosity--it only took 40+ years :)

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  9. I have often wondered how or why an author decides to have a MC or H/H have siblings, and if so, how many? I would imagine it might be based on word count and single title or category length? Most of the family sagas I've read are all single title - you need the room!

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  10. Good for you and your sis, Margie!

    Hi, Maria. In truth, my H/H are always so "fully formed" when I meet them that they come complete with family members. I wish my stories came to me as easily as the people do!

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  11. I have two sisters, and the relationships are way more complicated than I'd ever go into here. I don't speak to one, and never will again, and the other is borderline. You can blame my mother's blatant favortism for it. I never write sibs the way mine are.

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  12. I'm sorry for that, D'Ann. As difficult as I find it sometimes, I'm not willing to not have the relationship at all.

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