Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Family Ties and Other Oddities in Writing


Or, my take on it, anyway.

Earlier today a fellow writer contacted me. She wanted to know if I knew a David Strasser from Ramsey, NJ. Of course, I married a Strasser, so what do I know, right? The name wasn't familiar so I sent out an email to the clan asking, Does anyone know a David Strasser?

My sister-in-law replied,

There was a doctor at Rainbow Babies and children's who was a David Strasser from NJ, the rest of his family was from Erie....... he and I spoke about the fact that we were probably 32rd cousins 4th time removed.

How odd, I thought. This world is really small!

Which led me to think of World Building. [don't ask. I'm not sure how my brain works, either.]

Do I consider myself a World Builder? No, I suppose I don't. I don't write Science Fiction or Fantasy or Paranormal. I write contemporary [usually, with some vintage thrown in for good measure]. But Gosh Darnit! I want credit for the things I've created!

I'd like to point out the fact that readers and writers alike, we all have some sort of family. Traditional or not, we have people we relate to on a daily basis [okay, not you, Hermit, but most of us].

I world build when I create family.

I think Nora Roberts would agree [and if I could get her to comment on this, wouldn't that be cool?]. Her stories contain an element that will always draw me back... Relationships. I can't think of a single story that doesn't involve some family. I love this about her books.

Creating relationships, settings, conflicts... all part of a story that wouldn't exist without the characters, the family.

What do I ask of my hero and heroine when I create their world?

~Do they have siblings?

~How many?

~What are their professions?

~Do they have parents living?

~Where do they live?

~Who gets along?

~Who doesn't get along?

~Do they resemble their families?

~Do they have friends in common?

~Where did they meet?

~If they've known each other long, how have their impressions of each other changed?

What do YOU ask of your characters when creating their worlds?


  1. I never thought of it that way, but you're right!! That's brilliant really.

  2. Sheesh, thanks. LOL. Love that. *feelingpuffedupandbrilliant*

  3. Hi,

    Actually I just write and they tell me about themselves as I go along. Of course sometimes I have to back track when something new pops up, and I add it in.


  4. I do that too! With the exception of one of my novels, I have a 3 page questionnaire for my main characters (not the secondary folks) I cover pretty much everything you stated, and also include questions on life changing moments, and detailed physical descriptions. I read somewhere (can't remember) that you should know much more about your characters and their backgrounds than the reader's ever do. I can't imagine not doing this before I start a story. Maybe it's b/c I was a psych major, but I like to know everything about my characters before I start. I want their reactions to things to be real (continuity in everything)

  5. My biggest downfall is continuing physical descriptions... REALLY hard for me to keep a pic in my head. I've written entire stories in which I have only a vague idea of what the character looks like. Bad, I know. I'm trying, really. I did see a couple in church one Sunday that WAS my wip H/h. I didn't tell them that, but they'll forever be Jim and Dannie to me. LOL. Thank goodness I didn't know them!

  6. NO, was.
    What? Why is that bugging me?

  7. I write historical both straight and with some paranormal mixed in.
    I have to create a world in the historical setting as accurately as I possibly can. With the paranormal, I'm inventing the rules of that special world, so yes, I'm worldbuilding in both of those genres.


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