Monday, May 9, 2011

Who's Your Mommy?

Everyone, even the most notorious serial killer of kittens, has a mother. Some mothers bake apple pies, some program apple computers, but mothers they are. Some live next door, some live on the next continent. Some are cuddly, some are prickly. Some are people anyone would want for their best friend, some make Machiavelli look like a Boy Scout. They certainly come in all shapes, sizes and colours. But regardless, mothers play a role in all of our lives.

Take a minute to take a look at your main character and then squint to see if you can see the imprint of his/her mother. Perhaps it's in their attitudes, or their fondness for chocolate cake. Perhaps it's how they have guilt if they leave their bed unmade or abandon dirty dishes in the sink. It may make them wary of close relationships. It may make them avoid people of a certain physical type - or it may attract them to a type.

The absence of a mother is going to leave a mark too. These characters, although usually highly independent, have a tendency to not want others to get too close. Many will deal with feelings of abandonment or inadequacy.

Fun times.

You didn't grow up in a vacuum. Neither did your main character. Squint. Trust me, she's there.


  1. My main character has a few mother issues ... she does not want to be like hers. We all know how that usually goes :)

  2. I have a main character raised by her aunt, but her aunt was a great mother to her. :) I haven't really explored how she feels about not having her actual mother around, growing up--good tip here.

  3. Elspeth - Wow! Interesting way to think about main characters! Hmmmm....Mine doesn't focus too much on his mother, but as I think about it, I can start to picture her. Thanks!! You always add richness to what I write :-).

  4. Carol; That sounds achingly familiar!

    Elizabeth; It might be worth a thought or two...

    Margot; Aren't you kind? *blush* I'm pleased I could offer a suggestion you might find helpful.

  5. I recall an early crit partner asking me where in the heck Sarah's mother was when all this bad stuff was happening. Although adding more characters creates its own problems, the lesson was driven home, and even though I often try to get rid of parents and sibs, my characters now have family histories.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  6. Terry; I think family histories have to be considered, regardless of whether the family actually ever appear in the story or not.


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