Sometimes I get ahead of myself and consider big events and other things happening in a character’s life before I think about the family that they were born into. I forgot, after several months of working on her, that Kasia had eight aunts and uncles collectively, and countless more cousins. Grandparents, too.
It’s easy to lose sight of, to be honest, when your focus is on the character and what they involve their life with. Unless their parents are very involved in their life, too, it’s easy to forget they exist, too.
Stop and think about it. Which characters have you mapped out the family tree for, figuratively speaking? Do they have a good relationship with aunts and uncles, how long has it been since they had lunch with or talked to their cousins? Are they an orphan, an only child, do they have an adoptive family or were they raised without much in the way of maternal and paternal influence?
Or were they raised in a family that’s closer than most best friends usually are? Was there turmoil that broke them apart later, does everyone hate each other for it?
These little prompts are fun for me. It helps me consider and round out some characters, to really think about what I’m doing and, usually, it brings out new things to write, new angles to let my mind run wild over. Don’t hesitate to let it do the same for you!
-The Novice Wordsmith