Today, for National Sibling Day, take some time to consider how your protagonist’s sibling relationships have shaped their character. Siblings can be allies or enemies and sometimes both, and their presence or absence is guaranteed to influence your protagonist in profound ways. As a starting point, consider your own sibling dynamics as well as birth order, gender, ages and age gaps. Twelve and fourteen year old sisters will have a very different relationship then a twelve and eighteen year old brother and sister. If your protagonist doesn’t feel fully authentic, try altering the family dynamic. Change the age of a sibling or their gender, or even change a friend into a sibling and see how that altered relationship effects your protagonist.
consider how sibling dynamics have shaped your characters.
As you go about your week, whenever you’re in a new place or environment, spend a few minutes thinking about how your character would react to that errand or setting. A child would view a trip to the grocery store differently than an adult would. A person with a limited budget would react to the shopping experience differently than a person with a lot of money in the bank. How can you see your everyday tasks through the eyes of your characters?
Good writing draws us in through relatable, layered characters. Even when those characters are experiencing things we’ve never had to endure, we connect to them through shared emotions. In all likelihood, you’re encountering a variety of emotions as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds. Whether you’re dealing with new feelings or stronger versions of familiar ones, it may be cathartic to journal about your inner thoughts and reflections. Then, when you find yourself writing about a character who is experiencing negative emotions like fear, anxiety or isolation, or positive ones like gratitude, solidarity or generosity, you can return to those journals for inspiration. Even if your characters aren’t facing the same situations that evoked the emotions within you, they can inform your writing as you infuse your characters with an authentic heart.
The WriteOwls blog about writing and the writing life. We primarily write picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. As each of us shares her unique writing experiences, influences, motivations, and resources, our joint goal is to enrich our writing journeys and yours.