posted by Aunty Cindy
Do you sometimes feel like your family puts the "fun" in dysfunctional? Mine certainly does, and I don't think I'm unique. I'd even say most every family has its challen... eccentric... er, um, DYNAMICS! And that goes for fictional families as well as the real life varieties. In fact, it seems that everyone everywhere can identify with family conflict, whether it's the interfering mother-in-law as seen on numerous TV sit-coms, the bigot (a la Archie Bunker), or the Smothers Brothers' "Mom always loved you best" refrain!
In fact, I've noticed in a lot of books, including my own, that family members often supply lots of both internal and external conflict for the hero and/or heroine. Think about our own DOUBLE RITA nominee, Anna Campbell. In both Claiming the Courtesan and Untouched, who is causing the hero and heroine so much grief?
In my own book, The Wild Sight, there's an abundance of problem-causing relatives too. There's the step-father who didn't love the heroine as much as his own biological children. The bossy older sister who thinks she would do a much better job than the hero at running his life (I wonder why my brother got a big laugh over that character?). The alcoholic father who winds up being parented by his children rather than parenting them... And the list goes on and on.
Clearly there's a lesson here. For me, next time I find any of my characters in need of a wee bit more conflict (be it external or internal), I'm going to take a peek into their back stories and find some trouble-making relatives!
No, Aunty is not going to ask you to reveal any deep dark secrets about your real life relatives... unless of course you WANT TO (Aunty poises herself to take notes). We can keep this discussion to fictional families.
Tell us about some totally dysfunctional family members you read or wrote about lately. And didn't you enjoy it? Just a little? You can tell us!