Monday, 22 July 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Eileen Sharp - Horror Writing – Or Writing About Happy Families in Fiction

Today I'd like to welcome Eileen Sharp to my blog as part of the Blogger Book Fair. Once you've read her ideas about writing families, don't forget to check out her books and her blog, all linked at the bottom of the post.

Horror Writing – Or Writing About Happy Families in Fiction

You’ve seen it a hundred times. It’s a fantasy about an extraordinary protagonist who is an orphan and has no siblings, cousins or family--a lonely figure that makes his or her way alone in the world.

Yet ask any average person who has influenced them the most and you’re most likely to get the answer that it’s someone in their family. The truth is that at our core we deeply identify with the people we grew up with and in most cases, share DNA. It’s an elemental bond.

So why do authors choose to leave that goldmine of complexity and emotion to make orphans?

There are several. The first is that it immediately gives the reader a reason to sympathize with the character. If we all already have the common denominator of being connected with our families, then we instinctively know that being without them would have a certain emptiness, a suffering that is easy to understand.

Another reason is that it makes it easier for the writer to move along with the plot if they don’t have to deal with a parent who says “No, you cannot go out at midnight to meet your vampire boyfriend.” Parents create all kinds of sticky plot problems.

So it’s just easier. Healthy families also have the potential for the worst sin of all: being boring.

They are all good reasons and many a fine yarn has been spun because of them.

However, that being said, I relish the challenge of digging into that goldmine. I’m not talking perfect families--those are about as real as unicorns. Real families do have drama, because love inherently makes you care and therefore raises the stakes.

So here’s to the trick of writing about parents who are alive, siblings that actually care about each other and families that stick together, in fiction and life. It's a challenge either way, and well worth it.

About the Author:

Eileen is a YA writer from Pennsylvania and she is dedicated to writing positive fantasy. She enjoys giving her readers a good vibe when they read her books and is always writing in many genres.

Eileen's Blog

Ren can see the future through ghosts that speak to him. He's okay knowing more than anyone else, until he meets the girl he's supposed to fall in love with. As he's drawn into her life, he is forced to keep a tragic event from her. Desperate to help, he wonders if the future is something he can share. From the author of Certainty comes a fantasy set against the ticking clock of magic's end. The Unspeller and the Book of Days is an extraordinary fantasy about a powerful family and an ungifted child. Aesa Jereward finds himself the center of suspicion and fear, a possible sign of the foretold End of magic. Being part of a rich bloodline with deep magic only increases his misery. With the help of his extraordinary siblings and a dragon of mysterious origins, Aesa must find his own path in the destiny of magic.
by Eileen Sharp
The Unspeller and the Book of Days
by Eileen Sharp

1 comment:

  1. LOL - I can see how a parent could get in the way when the protagonist wants to head out at all hours of the night! :)

    I agree, though, there is no reason why a happy, non-perfect family can't be interesting when they're written right. It comes down to an author being able to find the tension of their story outside the 'orphan' set up. Personally, one of the things I like about Midsomer Murders is that I don't have to worry about DCI Barnaby's home life, no divorces, or familial deaths, his family just stays there in the background, providing comic relief and/or the odd bit of drama, but mostly I can concentrate on the main plot, the murders.

    If things in a family are too perfect, though, I'd be looking for the Stepford Wives plot.


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