The Writer’s Craft #40: Oh Brother! (Or Sister)
Faith Van Horne is a writer of speculative fiction living in the Midwest. Her novelette, All Hope Lost, will be available from Escape Collective Publishing on October 10th. You can see what she’s up to at her blog, faithvanhorne.blogspot.com.
When I started writing stories, my main characters were usually raised as only children, or spoke to their siblings rarely. This choice didn’t stem from my own life. I’m the youngest of three, so why did I go for loners as my protagonists?
Early on, I didn’t appreciate the deepening conflict that family relationships provide. Especially siblings, with all their rivalry and suppressed hostility.
For example, let’s look at one of my favorite films, Labyrinth. In it, fifteen-year-old Sarah curses her baby brother’s existence; if only the Goblin King would take him away, she’d be free. But when the Goblin King does steal Toby, she has to face her true feelings toward her brother, and does some growing up in the process.
My latest story, All Hope Lost, deals with Dana’s reaction to her brother’s suicide. She has a lot of suppressed feelings (no surprise). But in her case, a supernatural cult might be involved in the death. She denies its existence; she has to, to protect her sanity. But when a client arrives who’s lost his sister in the same way, and he also suspects the cult…well, Dana can’t let another sibling feel that pain without trying to help.
Who are your favorite supporting siblings in stories? Or do you go for the “lone wolf” hero?