Storytelling: families

Relationships between characters are something with a major potential in storytelling – and I’ve come to love good family bonds in stories. In this post, I’ll share some thoughts on this topic.

The most prevalent family ties in stories are father-son, mother-daughter, and siblings. However, that doesn’t mean the other options are nonexistent. I believe one of the reasons why positive family bonds work so well for me is the positive emotional impact those moments have.

Among those, siblings working together in tough times and parents passing life lessons to their children when the situation is dire helps to not only forge a bond between the characters but also between the character and a reader.

Furthermore, it allows some comparative descriptions by showing what the child does the same as the parent – or what they do differently. When you delve into the motivations, it can give another layer to exploring the personality of those characters.

When it comes to coming-of-age plots, several more topics gain depth: expectations of parents when it comes to their children in several aspects of life. One of major plot elements is the choice of partner and the possible conflict: while a poor approach can lead to far too much drama, good approach will use it to delve deeper into the characters and show what led to the differences between them. It can also show how the values a parent instill in his child(ren) affects the child’s priorities – including what values they seek in others.

All of this affected my writing – subtly at first, when I abandoned the orphan concept even though I haven’t developed the parent-child relationships right away. Considering how my story was developed, the first family bond I explored was the father-son bond between Kraasian and Tyr’eshal Darkwood, even though it took time before it gained at least some depth.

In retrospect, I think most of these portions came to be in some kind of organic way. By delving deeper into Tyr’eshal’s personality, I thought about which of his traits came from his father and which from his mother. This, in turn, shaped the parents and the relationship between them – and supported their personality.

The Darkwoods were not the only who got some attention in this regard. Eventually, I went into the Princess a bit – first with some hints of father-daughter relationship in some dialogues and then via the backstory of House Redshard, the Princess’ maternal ancestors – and tied that to how said backstory affected the Princess’ opinions (based on what she knew about her mother and how it influenced her).

Of course, strong bonds are not always just positive. Sometimes, parental love might feel strangling when a parent wants to protect their child from the world’s danger far too much. Should that be far too much for the child, they might consider running away – whether for a few days or forever – and thus expose more about those characters through their reaction to the event and how they handle potential reconcilation attempts.


I believe this is all I wanted to share on this topic – and I’ll welcome your opinions and experiences. Is parent-child relationship something you touched in your writing? Do you have a book to recommend when this topic is handled well? You’re welcome to share!

And, since that’s the topic, it’s time for me to share the fifth excerpt of my WIP – which shows a bit on this topic.

See you next time!

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