Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Writing Prompt Wednesday - Parenting

It's hard to go on magical, intergalactic, and/or possibly violent adventures when you have small children in tow. That's why a lot of popular novels feature protagonists who don't have children - or, at least, don't do much parenting. While there are certainly exceptions to the rule, the drama and toil of parenthood usually gets left out of novels unless the author is writing for a certain audience.

But what if your characters ended up as parents? Maybe you would never try to write your main character as a parent, but considering the idea will help you think through their personality and their relationship with their own parents.

Some parents-to-be spend hours reading parenting books, researching baby care, and familiarizing themselves with every year of the child development process. Others are less proactive. (That's not necessarily a bad thing - some of us grew up helping raise small children, and outside of real crises, we know what to expect!) While adoption is an attractive option for some, it can be an expensive and cumbersome process, so many prefer to have biological children if possible. 

Would your character be a helicopter parent? Laid-back? Almost negligent? How would their culture, work schedule, and life goals impact their parenting? Better yet, if they were co-parenting with another character, how would that play out?

Would they embarrass their kids, or try to be a cool parent? Would they end up being one of the mind-numbingly awful submissions to STFU, Parents? (God, I hope not.) Would they coordinate matching or themed Halloween costumes?

I feel like my main characters - Wynette from Rising From the Sand, and Kay from Maywitch - would be helicopter parents, but for different reasons. Wynette is a little high-strung by nature, and she'd want to smother her kids with joy and overprotectiveness. She'd want to be finger-painting with them or tagging along on excursions to the park, no matter how old they got. Kay would be much more nervous, and while she wouldn't follow them around, she would be constantly trying to shelter them and educate them on the dangers of the world. She would watch nervously from the windows of her house and yell at them occasionally. Upon their return home, she would watch for any warning signs of bullying or trauma, and interrogate them if she noticed anything abnormal.

In Maywitch, though, the whole issue of parenting gets... well, messy, to say the least (no spoilers!) so I may have to revisit this prompt once I publish a few key scenes I've drafted.

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