top of page

The One About A Character's Parents

I've mentioned before that the smallest detail can mold and shape the character(s) of a book. In my last post, I gave examples of hobbies; and how the knowledge gained from specific skills will affect a character. In my opinion, a character's parentage has a grander impact on how they develop and how they will react to certain situations.

We do not get to choose our parents, extreme circumstances aside. This means the people who raise us as children have a considerable influence on how we turn out as--hopefully--functioning adults. Just take a look at any reality show in America. There will always be one of the stars/contestants who mentions their childhood and how their parents treated them. We want people to know why we do the things we do and say the things we say. Needless to say, the imprint of our parents has an effect on us, and your characters should also feel the same ramifications. I'll use the characters from my book as an example.

Terren, at first, does not trust and is ultimately deeply hurt by Kiira's actions because of his experiences with his mother. As a child, his mother was caught in adultery and was beheaded when he was ten, and his sister was a toddler. The betrayal his father felt by his mother's actions trickled down to Terren, and Grayten became a vicious and degrading father toward both his children. When Terren caught Kiira (his betrothed) in a similar situation, it brought up feelings he thought he'd long buried. Terren became angry, and he judged her harshly for the disrespect she'd shown toward him because of her actions. My character's reaction might seem extreme to some, but I think it's genuine. Why would someone from a healthy family have anger/hurt toward a woman that showed signs of cheating if he'd never experienced something traumatic in their life?

For Kiira, she had a stable home as a child but lost her mother traumatically due to the attack of a magician. Because of this, she was forced to take on a role and a position that should not have been hers, in other words, she was forced to mature more quickly than would have been necessary if she had never lost her mother. This mentality of Kiira's made it difficult for her to accept that, as the princess, she did not have the complete freedom she craved. So, when it was announced she would be married to a man she didn't know or didn't love, she rebelled against it. Yes, she agreed to the terms, but not without participating in her secret rendezvous with Leo. Kiira mentions multiples times how she wished her mother was still there because the queen was a source of strength and reliability. Something she didn't feel she had, especially because she felt burdened by her father's decree.

In this post, I gave examples of how the loss of a mother affected both my main characters but in different ways. The characters' thoughts and feelings run much deeper than the two brief examples above, but these are the things that I consider when developing a character's background story. Sometimes, even the most minute detail will make a tremendous impact on how a character behaves.

bottom of page