1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Calling all red-headed step children!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Lea`Brooks, Jun 25, 2015.

    Yo!

    I'm starting a new urban fantasy story about a girl who is constantly overshadowed by her sister. The MC is Envy, in her early twenties, and her sister is Tess, about two or three years older than Envy. Their parents (and some of Envy's friends) continuously choose Tess over Envy, causing her to resent Tess for being the center-of-attention all of the time. The book focuses heavily on their relationship and the conflict between them (but Tess doesn't realize until halfway through the book that Envy hates her so much). So I was wondering if any of you have had situations like this in your life that I could use for my MC's backstory. A few situations I have include:

    -- Envy's high school teachers refer to her as "Tess's little sister"
    -- Tess was allowed to go on spring break vacations but Envy wasn't
    -- Envy couldn't go on fun school trip because parents wanted to buy Tess car and couldn't afford both
    -- Parents bought Tess a car but made Envy buy her own
    -- Once Envy graduated high school, parents made her pay rent to live with them but allowed Tess to live free-of-charge for a year or two
    -- Tess gets to go to college of choosing but Envy has to go to a local community college instead of her dream University because the parents are "broke"
    -- Envy's friends often come over specifically because they want to see Tess
    -- Envy's boyfriends often flirt with Tess

    Just a note: My MC is not a better or worse child than her sister. She's never really acted out or gotten into any serious trouble (maybe a few fights or detention in school). And Tess has never really done anything worth noting. She's basically just a typical girl that the parents favor for some reason.

    So! Does anyone else have any awful stories of favoritism that you wouldn't mind me using in my book? :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
  2. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Sorry but this description is for me incredibly confusing. Which sister is the older sister?

    Birth order dynamics are real and consistently predictable, so it matters -- to me at any rate.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
  3. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh whoops. :p The MC is the younger one. I'm actually going to go back through the original post and use names instead of "sister" and "MC." I think that may help. lol
     
  4. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    In my experience, younger children get an easier ride. What you are setting up here would be difficult to relate to for me as the eldest of three.

    Have the Mum bribe the kids to do something. Like stop biting their nails. Then pay one kid more than the other per nail not bitten.
    When one kid wants to go to a camp, make them pay half. Pay for the whole camp for the other one.
    Let one sister stay at home but send the other to boarding school.
     
  5. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, coming from the youngest of four, I can attest to it not always being an easy ride... lol I've always been "neglected" (though that's too harsh a word in my case) by my parents as the youngest. I know another family, though, where the youngest and oldest are neglected and the middle is the golden child. I know another family where the younger two are neglected the the oldest is the favorite. I don't think really being the youngest or oldest matters in relation to which child is favored by parents.

    Thanks for your suggestions. :) I'll see how I can incorporate them.
     
  6. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    My cousin did some PhD on dolphins, and we had a discussion about this. He seemed to think that it was time elapsed more so than order of birth. By the time you get to #4, the cycle is starting again, and they are like a #1 child. All conjecture and afternoon tea banter, of course, no double blind study with 120 degrees of freedom here to let me off the hook, but I did think it interesting. And now that you mention it, I do remember the step Mum saying Dad favoured me over my younger brother... hmmmm....

    One way of getting that resentment going, especially handy given the MC is younger is to dream up a bunch of things teenagers love to do:
    go to movies
    go out with mates
    go to sleep overs
    go to the mall

    and have the older sibling do these things, but do something that means the parents no longer allow that activity to happen. The younger sister misses out on all that fun stuff, coz older sister stuffed it up for both of them. Or they increase the age required to go do those things, and older sister can now go do them, but younger sister still can't as she is not old enough yet.
     
  7. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do dolphins have birth order issues?
     
  8. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    I think there are some observable differences based on birth order, but that part of the conversation was not pursued vs our own kin discussions. :D
     
  9. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    Honestly, if that had been my upbringing, I think I'd hate the parents more than the sibling. They sound like giant pointlessly vindictive arseholes, and I'd be surprised if none of the schoolteachers had confronted them about it.
     
  10. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, Envy definitely hates her parents too. But she's more angry at her sister because Tess became kind of stuck up, adopted this "I'm better than you" attitude, and constantly assumes that Envy has life easy (because Tess is blind to the special treatment her parents give her). So when Envy tries to complain, Tess just sees it as Envy causing drama to get attention.

    Sadly, Tess is heavily based on my own sister... lol But I'm trying to avoid using situations from my own life, however, because I don't want my family to someday read my story and see themselves in it. And as much as I don't care if their feelings are hurt, I just don't want the drama. lol
     
  11. Ivana
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    Ivana Contributing Member

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    So... Envy is... Envious?
     
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  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you want more terms to Google on, try "golden child" and "scapegoat".

    Edited to add: I realize that's not what you asked for, but it could be useful.

    Edited again to add: It's not unusual for the scapegoat (Envy) to do better in adult life than the golden child (Tess). The golden child has been raised to need praise and favoritism, and often with the constant need to please the parents that are providing that praise and favoritism.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
  13. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Right? lol It was a complete accident honestly. Well maybe not. Her name has always been Envy, but the story used to be different. I only recently made her envious. :p

    And actually, her name is (temporarily, as talked about it a different thread) Nina Victoria. But her first name was mocked so much as a child that she started going by her initials N.V. until Envy just stuck. :)
     
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  14. Ivana
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    Ivana Contributing Member

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    Hmm I like that - N.V. But maybe you could change the way it's written? Just to avoid the word "envy", which could look like you're over-emphasizing her jealousy. Perhaps Envie or something like that (I'm not good with spelling, I'm afraid).
     
  15. ChickenFreak
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    An example from my own life: When my brother and I grew up and moved away, my mother couldn't/wouldn't even remember what my hobbies were, much less know anything about them. But she researched baseball, my brother's interest, so that she could converse with him about it.
     
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  16. Wrizzy
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    I have a story in the back of my files that sort of covers the same premise, from a different angle. I would love to do more brainstorming on your project with you! I've looked at this topic A LOT and would love to see it tackled by someone who can finish it. (I've got novel finishing issues I'm working through.) In exchange, maybe do some trade work on developing plot for a different sort of paranormalish YA that I have been wanting to get going. :agreed:

    Anyways, ugh. I hate favoritism and whatnot. Feel free to use my pain, lol.

    When I was younger I loved to sing and dance, but I wasn't real flashy about it. I'm not as loud or extroverted as my sister, who is basically my irish twin (hope no one is offended by that phrase). Well, for some reason, my mom assumed that my sister was the singer and dancer in the family. She signed her up for classes, drove her to the practices, dragged me to the performances, carpooled with other moms , and then basically told me that my family didn't have the money or time for me to take any dance classes and never once offered to sign me up for music classes until I was old enough to join orchestra, and my grandpa bought me a violin and offered to pay for lessons. Really devastating, as a child. I was the older sister taking care of younger siblings a lot for my parents and I felt robbed.

    Also, my mom used to call me the bratty problem child. Well, I got the best grades in the family, was active and successful in extracurricular activities, paid for my own clothing, lunches, and hobbies (I worked from 7th grade on). I was also the quiet sister, who hated to break rules. Still doesn't make sense to me, unless I psychoanalyze that crap, lol. Maybe because I taught my younger siblings that abuse was bad, and thus undermined their controlling authority?

    Feel free to come to me for more. :meh:
     
  17. Wrizzy
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    Wrizzy Member

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    I had the same thought. 'Envy' is too on the nose, I think. 'Envie' is cute. You could also try and find a longer version that shortens down to Envie so that it shortens down to the same name. Not like with the initials thing...more like Envi*** something....? But I'm not the best one around to come up with names so I can't come up with anything else, lol. Or kind of like how Cinderella is shortened to Ella.
     
  18. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Envincible.
     
  19. Wrizzy
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    Wrizzy Member

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    Lol. I'm sure that's the name every girl wishes they'd been given.:p
     
  20. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    The fact that you don't know what this reason is throws up huge red flags for me.
     
  21. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    On this whole first child favourite/youngest child favourite...I think it depends on the parents.-

    First child could be the son daddy/mommy always wanted, whereas son No. 2 is just an insurance policy.
    Youngest quite often gets favoured because mommy loves babies, and the youngest never really grew out of it. Or because youngest quickly learns to cry for any reason, and parents tell the older to stop bullying/being mean...(Or oldest learns to cry, etc., because he's a cunning little bugger - experience!)
    Daughter could get rough deal because daddy/mommy wanted a son. Son could get rough deal because daddy/mommy always wanted a daughter.

    We had four children, always tried to treat them equally. But, when you've got two you can afford a certain level of stuff; when you've got four, you can only afford half as much stuff. But when the older two leave home, there's more for the younger two - especially as, by this time in YOUR lifecycle, your income is higher than it was when you first had kids. But, you haven't got the same energy to do things with your kids - like football in the park - that you did when you first had kids.
     
  22. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does parent favoritism always have a good reason? Most of the time, from what I've seen, the parents don't even realize they're doing it.

    Yes, I've seen those situations happen sometimes. I had a friend growing up who was the black sheep of her family. Her parents wanted a boy, but they had a girl. So they spent all of their time doing "boy" things with her (baseball, hunting, etc.) She's now a huge tomboy. Then my friend was the middle child, another girl. The parents still wanted a boy so they spent all their time with the boy-ish of the two. Then they finally had a boy, so they drug him along with the tomboy sister and excluded my friend from everything. It was really hard to watch her struggle. She would bring it up to her parents, but they just told her she was overreacting and continued to ignore her.

    I have had many situations where I've been put last by my parents. I only have one real sister and two step-sisters. But the "favoritism" has always been there. My sister did a lot in school. She was in plays and the school band. I was active in school too, in the gifted program, band, choir, and school plays. But my parents often didn't go to my performances, and they went to all of my sister's. My parents once drove me to my band concert, dropped me off at the door, and said they were going to park and come inside. They left. They... left. I was in the sixth grade, so that was very upsetting for me. Plus, my dad and step-family always do things together without inviting me. They go to dinner, the zoo, baseball games, and I have to learn about it on Facebook. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how many times I talked to them about it, I never got an invitation. I couldn't for the life of me tell you why. I'm not mean. I'm quiet, but not mean. They've just never wanted me around.

    I always felt that my parents cared more what my sister did because it was new. She was older, so they hadn't seen any of that before. So events that I would be very excited about were overshadowed by something she did. I would always joke that my sister stole my thunder. lol My sister got engaged two days before my first prom. She showed up and insisted all the photos of me had her and her ring in it. I graduated high school at the same time she graduated college, so we had to share a party and everyone focused more on her than me. My step-sister had a baby (the first) right around the time I got engaged so of course my engagement wasn't the important topic of conversation. Every time something important happened to me, something more important happened to someone else, completely overshadowing me and my excitement. And really, it's not that big of a deal. I understand. Their reactions made sense. But that's what inspired me to write this. lol Only with a way worse backstory.
     
  23. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    No offence, but that is utter shit parenting.

    I thought I read somewhere you did not want your story to be too closely aligned with your own family, in case they read it, but meh, if it were me I'd disown those fuckers, make my own family (ie with friends and perhaps my own partner) and be done with them. Ain't nobody got time for that.

    Seriously. Unless they are going to will a fucking castle to you upon their death, I'd be counseling you to move on.

    muttergrumbleidiots.
     
  24. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why do you think I moved halfway across the country? :p Well, for my husband, of course, but my family was definitely part of it. When I get homesick, I just remember the way they treated me. Instant homesickness cure! lol

    I initially had this story aligned with my life when I first got the idea. Then I went back to it last week and decided it probably wasn't worth the drama.

    Still, they don't hold anything over me anymore. I'm out of school, out of their house, and married so it's not like I need them to support me for anything. (My dad once threatened to not pay for my wedding if I refused to be a bridesmaid in my step-sisters wedding. :dry: Which, by the way, she had us walk down the aisle based on the order in which she asked us to be a bridesmaid... And I was last. One step-sister was first, her best friend since birth was second, my blood sister was third... and I was eighth. Her own sister. Eighth. Behind her neighbor and groom's cousin.) I basically ignore them as often as possible now anyway. :-D

    Fuck, maybe I will just use my life... lol
     
  25. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry to hear all this, but I think it's great that you're using this for fiction. I hope it helps you find some sort of closure.
     

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