Sunday, April 6, 2014

F for Friction in the Family

Today days list is fun generalisations about family.

If you want to write about conflict, families can be a gold mine. Lots of lovely friction points, age gaps and jealousy. Here is a list of some behaviour traits depending on where a character is placed in a family.

Only children - tend to be self-sufficient because they are on their own a lot. They find it easier to get along with adults. An only girl can sometimes be treated like a boy by her father.
Second children - are fiercely competitive with their siblings.
Third - (and middle children) are usually contrary, they have neither the assurance of the oldest nor the advantages of the babies. They have to be different to attract attention. These are the children that may cry it's not fair.
The baby of the family - the stereotype is the child that is petted and spoilt, but they can also be bullied.
Twins - children writers love them. Editors hate them! Use twins with caution.

Other family conflicts to think about: 
Mothers and daughters
Mothers and sons
In laws
Step families 
Married couples
Father and sons
Father and daughter

Things that cause the most friction;
Money - lack of, jealousy about
Attention - favouritism
Raising children - lots here!
Career - who's most successful and why?
The past - grudges and skeletons in the closest

Think about your characters family even if you don't include it in your writing.

This is a fun list. But beware of stereotypes. Make sure you differentiate characters of the same age, sex and background. 

#atozchallenge bloggers. Thank you for popping by. Please leave your link in the reply section so I can follow you back. You shouldn't get emails from my site unless you request them. Happy blogging.


  1. Being a twin myself, it's good to know editors hate them :)
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

  2. Hi Charlotte,

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

    All the very best for the Blogging Challenge.


  3. Thanks for the visit. :) Returning the favour and following you too.

    I like the idea of including family members for characters. I haven't done that but each of my characters in the story has an individual personality and I've linked this to both numerology and astrology to get a more complete picture of each..This won't go in the book but it does help to keep me on track with how they react...

  4. Only children are psychopaths
    Middle children are the ones you usually forget on the bus
    Eldest children are the smart ones, because they get the extra attention before their siblings come along.
    Younger children are the tough ones, because they have to raise themselves after the parents give up after the older ones
    Youngest children live at home until they're 30
    Twins don't actually exist. They're a plot device made up by lazy soap opera writers

    Maybe I'm just reading the wrong books...

  5. Thank you for coming by my site, it seemd only polite to so the same and I'm loving the posts! :) (My blog:

    Most of the novels I plan have the children being single children, except for the novel I am currently writing for Camp NaNo, where the main character is the youngest of eight and the only girl! She was so spoiled as a little one....

  6. I really love observing the relationships between siblings. I would love to explore that a bit more in a written work.

    LittleCely's Blog.

  7. I was the baby in my family. I wasn't exactly bullied, but thrown around like a basketball? Sure! :)

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Oops sorry, my html coding isn't working properly. Feel free to visit...

    1. Okay...I accidentally deleted my original comment! *smash forehead* It's nice to meet you through the a2zchallenge. These are excellent tips for developing fictional characters. I will save these for later. Now following you back! Have a gr8 day!

  10. Thanks for stopping by my site. Great post. There's plenty of dysfunction in families, providing endless material for writers. Good Luck with the At oZ Challenge.
    MaryJane :)

  11. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    One of the key elements in the series I'm working on at the moment is the main character's relationship with his parents. In book 3 I'm enjoying throwing a mini spanner in the works as to how he regards them.

  12. Hm. I never knew editors hated twins. Can you elaborate, possibly, because now I'm curious!

    1. At the last SCWBI conference - please no more twin stories was the mantra, of course in 18 months they will be begging for them :) thanks for visiting xx

  13. Ha, Amanda, the twins comment caught my eye, too. Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield anyone? I think twins were popular for awhile and then got overdone. I haven't read a twin story in a long time. Maybe it's time to bring them back :)

    1. My vampire twin sister - is popular kids book

  14. This was something interesting :-)

  15. I am the baby in my family still, desperate being ancient.

  16. Good luck with the challenge!

  17. I have a book I want to write. Thanks for these tips.

  18. I am the youngest in my family (third and last child, yes I am pampered, but I definitely do not lack self-assurance or get bullied). Infact its the opposite ;)

  19. I am the eldest and all I know is eldest take the responsibilities on their shoulders

  20. All my novels are about families. This is a great post for me to check my characters against. I have no idea if I'm stereotyping or not.

  21. i want to write a family saga one day.

  22. Only child raised as a sports fan and woodworker by my Daddy. Little bit Daddy's girl, little bit Daddy's next-best-thing-to-a-son sports fan!

  23. Ooooh, delicious conflict! My favorite scenes to write are those packed with tension and conflict ;-)

  24. Sociological fact - the oldest child (and the only child) is the most like their parents in social-economic structure, beliefs, etc. This child spends the most time with the parents.

    Observation - Oldest children make decisions. In a group of people, the youngest children will waffle back-and-forth, what do we want to do, until the oldest finally gives up and says "we will do this." I've seen this over and over again in my friendships where my friends are 2nd children or youngest children. They grew up with other people making decisions for them. Pizza or hamburgers ... well, maybe, - finally me (oldest in my family) "Look, I'm hungry, get in the car my friends, sushi it is." - Yeah, family is a wonderful mine for conflict, and family structure defines characters even when the original family is not available. - Erin Penn (a to z participant - - Hey, we are twin bloggers ... using the same theme)