On the Importance of Fictional Mothers

Happy Mother’s Day!

Today’s post will be short due to shopping and celebrations, but thanks to the wonderful Instagram IGWRITERSMAY campaign, fictional moms are on my mind today. Sadly, especially in the YA genre where I do a good deal of my reading/writing, there seems to be a dearth of good moms. Frequently, they’re either wicked or dead (to be fair, the same goes for the dads. But that’s for next month’s post!).

But no matter how they come across on the page, moms play a huge role in their children’s lives. It can be a positive or a negative impression, but either way, it’s undeniable that one’s outlook, vision, even their very personality, are all influenced by their mother! So this week I’m encouraging all of you to consider YOUR characters’ moms!

  1. Is Mom alive or dead? If the latter, how did she die and how was the character affected by that?
  2. Is/was Mom supportive or full of disdain toward the character’s goals? In what way did Mom’s opinion play into the character’s growth/development?
  3. Are/were Mom’s lessons good or bad? Does/did she tend to give good or poor advice?
  4. Is/was Mom a nurturer or a naturer – i.e. placing the child in a position to grow more independently vs. a hands-on, personal approach?
  5. Are/were the Mom and character close? In what ways does this dynamic – whether warm, cool, or downright cold – affect the character’s outlook on life, relationships, etc.?

Got any “mom-questions” that helped you understand your character’s family life and the effect on his/her story even more clearly? Share in the comments below!

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