Good morning! I’m still on the road, presenting to amazing educators at the Pennsylvania Writing Institute at Millersville University today, but fabulous guest author is here with today’s writing prompt. Laura writes magazine articles, poetry, and educational titles for kids. Learn about her work at her website: www.laurawynkoop.com
“Families are messy. Immortal families are eternally messy. Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we’re related for better or for worse…and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum.”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt that families are kind of a mixed blessing. They love you, bug you, help you, hurt you, make you laugh, make you cry, and just generally drive you crazy. But you know life wouldn’t be the same without them. And you wouldn’t be who you are without them.
I find it interesting to think about my favorite characters and take a good look at their families.
Take Percy Jackson for example. Unbeknownst to him, he’s the son of Poseidon, and at the age of 12, he’s sent to a camp for demigods. If not for his father, Percy wouldn’t be one of the most powerful half-bloods on the planet.
And then there’s Harry Potter. After the death of his loving parents, he has to be raised by his aunt and uncle. As cruel and cold-hearted as they are, the fact that they share the bond of blood offers Harry protection from Voldemort.
And speaking of protection, the entire plot of The Hunger Games hinges on the fact that Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place in the reaping. She would do anything, make any sacrifice, in an effort to keep her little sister safe.
These are very brief examples, of course, but I think it’s helpful to evaluate how characters are affected by their family dynamics.
So for today’s Quick-Write, I’m asking you to take one of your characters (it can be from your WIP, or an entirely new character), and examine his/her family. Who does your character live with? Which family member is your character closest to? Why? What special bonds do they share? Who is the biggest source of tension? Why? What has happened to strain their relationship? How do specific family members influence your character’s beliefs and actions?
I hope that by taking a good look at your character’s family, you’ll get to know him/her a bit better and develop a deeper understanding of his/her motives.