Parents Just Don’t Understand // Beautiful People, June Edition

beautifulIt’s time for another Beautiful People post! BP is a monthly link-up for writers hosted by Cait @ PaperFury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In  to answer questions about their books and characters. This month’s theme is all about parents.

The main characters in my WIP fantasy series are adults, and very few of them have parents that affect their lives or are involved in the story. (Since it’s a portal fantasy that’s basically a second world fantasy, and the main characters left their parents and their old lives behind.) But, there is a scene a few books into the series where my character Ol Aarons (short for Oliver) gets to visit his family after a many-decades’ absence — so I’ll be filling this questionnaire out for him!

1. Do they know both their biological parents? Why/why not?

Yes, though he hasn’t seen either of them for a very long time.

2. Have they inherited any physical resemblances from their parents?

Yeah! We briefly see a photograph of his father hinting that Ol resembles him strongly:

The black and white photo could’ve been of Ol today, only the man in the photograph had smoother cheeks, a blunter nose, slightly more space between his eyes. But Ol had inherited his father’s eyebrows, his square chin, and his slight, perpetual frown.

3. What’s their parental figure(s) dress style? Add pictures if you like!

We see Ol’s mom in a frumpy, floral house dress. I imagine pictures of his father as a young man in military uniform contrasting strongly with his present-day father, a guy gone slightly to seed. For him, I see ratty, comfortable clothes — sweat pants, etc., and shirts that do not hide a sizable paunch. (This is not very flattering.)

4. Do they share any personality traits with their parental figures? And which do they take after most?

His parents are a little bit cold, a little bit stubborn, a little brash and distant. All those are traits Ol can identify with and probably inherited in some respect from them. I’d say he takes after his mother the most, though he looks more like his father.

5. Do they get on with their parental figure(s) or do they clash?

Clash. Ol’s meeting with his family after years of absence does not go well at all.

6. If they had to describe their parental figure(s) in one word, what would it be?

Stubborn.

He didn’t know why he expected them to be kind or nurturing or anything beyond stubborn and suspicious. They were his family after all.

7. How has their parental figure(s) helped them most in their life?

I would say, they prepared him to be self-sufficient. To cook for himself, restrict himself, give himself rules and exercise self-discipline.

8. What was their biggest fight with their parental figure(s)?

When he comes back into their lives momentarily, and can’t explain to them why he’s not home for good. He can’t explain about the fantasy world and his window for returning home only being so big, so they can’t conceptualize why it’s taken him so many years to reconnect with them, and why he’s taking off again so soon.

9. Tracing back the family tree, what nationalities are in their ancestry?

Hmm — good question! I hadn’t thought past their last few generations of American-ness. They have the kind of dark hair, dark eyes I could see having some Irish ancestry in their blood.

10. What’s their favourite memory with their parental figure(s)?

In the little bit I’ve written about Ol’s childhood, he thought very favorably of his mother’s food. So I imagine any family dinner, any holiday, lunches he brought from home, were sources of comfort for Ol. After leaving home, that memory of home-cooked meals would’ve been one he missed most.

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I liked these questions — I don’t give nearly the attention to my characters’ parents as I should! (And even less to their children — there are only two kids in my entire six book WIP. Child-bearing couples just aren’t the priority over here, apparently!) If you’re a writer, do you incorporate your characters’ parents into the story? If you filled out a Beautiful People post, link me to it! Otherwise, let’s talk — what terrible traits did you inherit from your parents? *eyes my mom and dad* I think I got stubbornness and a horrible tendency to procrastinate from these lazy bums *cough* I mean wonderful, beautiful people. 😉

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Beautiful People, May Edition

beautifulThis month’s Beautiful People post is all about your Camp NaNoWriMo characters! I spent April editing and writing bits and pieces for my ~fantasy series~, so I’ll answer the questions for my main character, Charley! I talked about Charley and his relationship with his best friend Simon in last month’s BP post. 🙂

1. Do they get nightmares? If so, why or what of?

Yeah, Charley gets a few nightmares throughout the series — in the book I’m writing right now, he’s majorly worried about avalanches and getting buried in piles of falling rocks. (A legitimate thing to be worried about, I think!)

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Beautiful People: April Edition. All About Siblings! (Sort of.)

”PAPERFURY”This month’s Beautiful People link-up for writers is themed around National Sibling Day, and all the questions are supposed to be about a sibling relationship in your novel. UNFORTUNATELY ALL MY CHARACTERS SEEM TO BE ONLY CHILDREN??? I literally can’t think of one character (of dozens) in my WIP series that has a brother or sister. That’s probably something I should work on.

Anyway, that crisis is for another time. INSTEAD, I’m going to be taking two of my main characters, Charley and Simon, best friends since they were little teeny tiny kids, and answer the questions about their brotherly-esque relationship.

Continue reading “Beautiful People: April Edition. All About Siblings! (Sort of.)”

Are Your Characters Faceless Blobs? (Or, How Exhaustively Do You Describe Your Characters?)

Writers tend to be of two minds when it comes to describing a character’s physical appearance. Either they like to a) introduce each character with a fully-fleshed description that gives the reader an instant picture in their mind, or b) sprinkle in details sparingly, when they come up organically in the story.

(Of course, there are some writers who prefer a third option, c) divulge nothing about the characters save, basically, their names. This tactic, I DO NOT recommend. The idea behind it is, I guess, noble: to let your readers form their own interpretation of a character’s physicality free from the author’s influence, and to avoid bogging down the prose with a clunky descriptive paragraph. I can see what these writers are trying to do, only most of the time … they don’t do it. They end up creating faceless blobs: featureless talking heads that leave little impression on the reader.)

So, when it comes to describing characters, how much detail is too much? Should we saturate our pages with description, or sprinkle them?

Continue reading “Are Your Characters Faceless Blobs? (Or, How Exhaustively Do You Describe Your Characters?)”