Tag Archives: family

Long Lost

One of the biggest go-to plot twists (and tropes) has been the “long-lost” sibling, parent, friend, etc. Your writing is going well, and then you stop and you wonder about what could spice things up, and all of a sudden you’re staring at the computer screen or notebook with wide eyes and your jaw dropped open, because having someone be introduced into their life that they should have known since the beginning is such a hard throw for anyone.

Some of these are easier than others depending on where you are in your story, and what kind of holes you’ve left open. Think about it before you jump though; what feels right for the character and their life? Another thing to consider is the execution of this. How are you going to introduce it, and does it help you do something else?

As an example: does the feel of the character having a long lost sibling make up for something else in their life and development, or do you feel like you should go back and write them as the youngest/oldest/middle of a group of children instead of alone?

Of course there’s another way to go about this as well: instead of a random interjection, make the person’s absence a conscious part of the hero’s life. The long lost brother who’s been missing or cut them out of his life for so long, who turns up unannounced one day.  Or the friend thought dead who gets spotted at a crime scene. Or, neither of them show up just yet; they lurk in the outskirts of the novel until you’re ready to bring them in, or you decide you didn’t want and or need them after all.

Some plot holes may support these newly thought characters, though, the ones who jump in at you at the last second and turn the story on its head. The ones who grin at you and wave and show you something that could work rather well.

Others may not work out at all.

The Long Lost ______ is an interesting dynamic, when you look at it: you’re putting someone in front of your hero who should have been in their life all along, thus throwing them for a loop and making them come up with countless questions. Confusion. Anger. Upset. Betrayal. In some cases, embarrassment.

It’s a quick way to spice things up, but it can also change the tone of the story, so be careful how you use it. Find what degree of focus you want to give it, or not give it, and run with it. The phrase is “the more the merrier” for a reason, right? 😉

-The Novice Wordsmith

You Matter – National Suicide Prevention Day

This strays from what the blog is centered on, but this day has a big enough importance to me that it deserves the attention I’m going to give it.

I can start off by saying something about Robin Williams, but I know this disease is gripping more people around the community, the country, and the world, than simply to just give one example. He is the biggest example at the moment, for those who haven’t seen this up close, but I am willing to bet, with how many people follow my blog, and with how prevalent depression is, that there isn’t at least someone who’s lost a friend, or a family member, or a classmate, to suicide.

And the worst of all is that I’m sure one or two of you may have thought about it yourself. I used to.

I lost someone very dear to me to suicide. It was probably the most difficult thing I’d ever gone through, and I still remember sitting up at night, crying, saying that I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Because it’s not fair. It hurts, bad.

My biggest plea is that you matter. You mean something to any person in your family, in your group of friends. There is so much more to you than a noose waiting in the closet, or the balcony outside of the hotel room at the seventh floor.

Backing up just a second, for those who haven’t gone through this, it may not have as much of a meaning. It may just be another day, another well-meaning organization is trying to boost awareness, and that’s that, let me elaborate on that:

To Write Love on Her Arms heads this day. They started back in 2006, I believe, where people would simply write love on their arms. I remember hearing about them through high school, and that’s the target, typically, for them. Teenage kids who are going through bullying, who are going through a very rough time, but they exempt no one. Their biggest effort is to get people to understand that it is a disease, and that it can turn someone into something that they aren’t. That, ultimately, suicide is something that they convince themselves that is the only way out.

IT IS NOT THE ONLY WAY OUT.

It isn’t. There is so much more you can do. I know it’s hard to get out of bed, I’ve seen it. I know it’s hard to try and smile, to try and do anything else but cry, but don’t force yourself if that’s all you can do. It’s okay to feel so much, but you have friends, online or in person, that will help you. They can hold onto you in whatever way possible, they will strive to make you better.

The death of Robin Williams opened the eyes of a lot of people. It showed that some people feel like they are beyond saving. It showed that it can be very difficult for any person, no matter how big they smile or how much they make you laugh. It showed that, those who bring the greatest joy, often feel the deepest pain.

It showed that the disease is real, and it helped lift some of the stigma of mental illness in our country, and the world, which is staggering.

Hug someone today. Someone who is hurting, if you’re not. Realize that you matter, or tell them that they do. Don’t worry. Breathe, take it a step at a time. It’s okay to feel too much. You are not alone. You’re here, and there are so many people who don’t want you to go, including me, no matter how little I know you.

Spread the word. Spread the love. Remember that you have love, from friends and family.

Please don’t hesitate either, if you’re suffering from depression, to talk to me. Send me a message and I can be here for you if you need someone to be. If you’re afraid to talk to anyone else. I understand. And I love you.

Thank you.

-The Novice Wordsmith

Character Development: All in the Family

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