Friday, October 30, 2009

Writing: Family Dysfunction and Relationships

I know, I know, I said I would write about "Image" today... But I got this idea in my head, and, you know, when you get it, you go with it! Take the magic while it's there. (That's a lesson, btw... Capitalize on the adrenaline while it's pumping. Or, write about it while the idea is flowing!)

Today I'd like to discuss writing relationships. I have this intrinsic love of writing dysfunctional families. I really do. It's not because my family is messed up, but maybe because my family is the exact opposite of messed up. My dad is my favorite person in the entire world; my hero; my best friend. My mom is one of the most impressive people you could ever meet. And my sister is really just amazing.

And yet, writing about messed up families just intrigues me. The interaction they (don't?) have. The underlying currents of angst. The way it messes with my characters.

I'll give you two examples, from recent writing ventures...

The latest manuscript I was writing (while blogging, you can scroll down for it), was about a girl who lived next door to two brothers. She starts dating the older brother, all the while slowly falling in love with the younger one. And, by the way, the younger and older brother? Yeah, they hate each other. And their mom? She's dying of cancer, and the older brother blames the younger one for making her die faster.

It's a pretty basic tale. Slightly more complicated and a little more involved than that, but there's the overview of it. (I never said I was writing Sebatini here!) But the messed up relationships--two brothers who hate each other after the same girl--just intrigues me.

Now, if this happened in real life, my heart would break for all three of them. Because, you know, no matter which brother the girl ends up with, their relationship with the other brother would be broken for the rest of their lives. But in a book... Well, in a book, everything can be happy.

If you wanna go that way, that is... ;)

Case-in-point-number-two: A while ago, I wrote a little tale about a girl who ends up falling in love with her step-brother, who is a year younger. (That's all the detail I'm going to give on this one, because it's actually one of my very favorite stories of all time, and just thinking about it makes me want to go back to it again.)

Can you imagine? 16 year-old girl. 15 year-old boy. Step-siblings. Well that's just a recipe for disaster in the first place, but my sick mind twisted it and really ran with it.

I have this vague obsession with making the lead male younger, too... That one I think I can explain. I always thought I would end up with a younger guy, because when I was younger they seemed nicer than guys my own age, but it never actually worked out that way. I always ended up with older guys. But I think that stayed with me, plus, it causes all sorts of stigma problems for the characters to deal with. Hmm... I think younger guys try harder. (This is quickly dissolving to a train-of-thought, so I will stop there.)

I'd like to say that I tend to lean on the side of caution when it comes to these messed up relationships... I don't write about parents beating their children (which isn't to say I won't), and I don't write about fathers raping their daughters (which I never will--attempted rape is a common theme in my books because rape is fucked up and every girl should know that it's out there and to fight back). But I like to play with messed up relationships.

Maybe I'm a little messed up myself...