1. Shandeh
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    Shandeh Active Member

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    Grrr, writing realistic family relationships!! [just... venting I guess]

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Shandeh, Jun 16, 2013.

    I have literally NO experience in a happy family with a mother and a father living under the same roof. My parents divorced when I was 3. I can write families that fight and are dysfunctional, but happy escapes me.

    So, stupid me, I decided my main character is happy, devoted to his partner [they aren't married, Emma isn't into that] and has a 5 year old daughter he adores but doesn't really "get". I don't want to change that because Emma and Lauren are integral to the plot and their importance to the plot hinges on their importance to him. There will be drama relating to these relationships in the plot of my story as I am going to be using his family to hurt him. [great, now I sound like a psychopath...]

    But, EVERYTHING I write between him and Emma feels cliche and overly cutesy, and he's way too distant with Lauren. He comes across as not only unsure about her, but uncaring. It's driving me nuts. I keep trying to think, how would I want a guy to be with me? But that doesn't really work for Emma and Beau's relationship, because I don't WANT a guy who's... I guess a little overbearing. Emma likes it. I... don't.

    I'll probably post the scene up for critique later, when I've had a chance to re-read it a few more times, re-write, work out the kinks and eliminate a few cliches. And make it less CUTE dammit! But I really, really need tips on how to do that :/ less cute, more real...

    They did have sort of a fight in the morning before the scene I'm trying to write... and Emma's apologizing for that... but yeah, realistic healthy relationships are incredibly difficult for me to write. I've been in them, but I'm not the guy, and it's the guy's POV I'm trying to write from here...
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    ok so having a freak out in a forum won't help,

    I'm guessing Emma is the wife or g/f, Lauren is the 5 year old and Beau is the guy? Crap name for a guy by the way, unless he lives in Hazard County and climbs in and out of the windows of the general lee.

    Beau doesn't "get" his 5 year old daughter? How could he not "get" her? It's his job to mould her. Is she some kind of distant freak, inhabited by ghosts?

    just post it raw and maybe we can help out a little as to where you're going.
     
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  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Suppose Beau had the same experience with family as you did, and now he is in a lovely relationship. Everything is perfect but his hang-ups, and his own experience of not being understood by his own parents, all that is apparent in his POV. He's trying, nothing he wants more, but he is struggling with not knowing how to react to all these things he didn't have growing up. He has to learn to love unconditionally.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Fully off topic, but I have to agree in total with erebh. Beau made me cringe more than a smidge. Other than Dukes of Hazard, it sounds like a bad soap opera name.
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Gotta disagree with you guys here. Although I personally don't much care for the name, it is what it is. Maybe his parents loved the Dukes of Hazzard (although I always thought that character spelled his name 'Bo.' I could be wrong, though.) Or maybe he's Beauregard. Or maybe his parents had an inside joke, where the mother always wanted a boyfriend and somehow the dad was referred to as her "beau," maybe by someone who they liked or hated, and ended up calling the kid "Beau" as either a nickname or as an actual name because of this joke they shared. The character will grow into the name, just like real people.

    The OP isn't asking about the name choice. She's asking about writing relationships.

    All I can really say is to try to imagine what you would say or do in a certain situation. If it's coming across as cheezy and unrealistic to you, then it most likely is. There must be some sort of healthy relationship you've had with another person -- if not a parent, maybe some other relative or a good friend? Maybe a sibling? Even if they're not romantic, you can extrapolate the way you would interact with someone you care about after a fight.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Give us a paragraph. I can't tell which direction to steer with the screen blank.
     
  7. EmmaWrite
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    EmmaWrite Member

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    I would talk to your friends who had nuclear families growing up or think of some other nuclear family's you might have experienced (aunt and uncle's, mom or dad's friends, etc.) I agreed with Gingercoffee that posting a paragraph would be the best way to get good advice.
     
  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    One thing I would suggest (having been happily married for nearly 37 years)...no happy family is happy all the time. Fully functional families have knock-down-drag-outs. No two gears can match up so perfectly that they don't create at least a little friction, and friction creates heat. Same with people.

    The reason is that the minute you say "we", you have to diminish "I", and diminishing "I" is really, really hard to do.

    So, I'm guessing that what is bothering you about your piece is that the happy family is always happy. If I were you, I'd start there.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    How determined are you to create this happy family? It seems to me that you might write a much better book if you come close to what you know. At the very least, your characters could be _from_ less than ideal families, even if they've built a positive relationship themselves.

    My family was also dysfunctional. In my twenties, I spent a lot of time reading things like the usenet group misc.kids and wondering why I was reading them, since I had no intention of ever having kids. I realized, eventually, that I was learning what normal parent/child relationships were like, not because I wanted to be a parent, but just becuase I wanted to know what the experience of "normal" people was like.

    Er. What's my point? Ah, yes. My point is that I spent _years_ reading that stuff. What you want to learn may take a good long time to learn.

    But I would certainly agree that happy families are not happy all the time. And they're also not perpetually _aware_ of being happy. Beau isn't going to come home and say, "Oh, darling, I'm so happy to come home to the light of my life blah de blah de blah."

    On a happy evening, he may come home and say, "Hey, that ice cream you like is back; I got you a pint. Ooh, you made meatloaf! Thank you!"

    On an unhappy evening, he may come home and say, "Ice cream? Oh, God, I forgot... hey, I had a hard day at work, don't snap at me! Well, if she's going to cry about ice cream, you can drive out and get it. Yes, of course I can watch her; I'm her father! Sheesh, do you think I'm incompetent?"

    But both evenings could happen in a happy family.
     
  10. Shandeh
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    Shandeh Active Member

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    Thanks all :) You've given me some good tips to work with, despite my being decidedly unhelpful by giving you nothing to go on.

    What I have is so embarrassing I really don't want to put it up online :redface: needs a LOT of work... maybe after another couple of re-writes...

    Actually the scene I'm trying to write is a making-up moment because of an almost-fight they had earlier that day as he was leaving for work. Only reason that didn't turn into a proper fight is because he was in a hurry and couldn't stick around. The relationship they have is sort of a secondary thing, I guess - Beau is a bit of a workaholic. And yes, I've been told a few times that his name is awful. But I like the name, and in my mind that's who he is.

    He /likes/ kids, and he's trying, but he doesn't really understand them. He doesn't understand other adults a good portion of the time either [I have Asperger's Syndrome and I'm trying to write him as an undiagnosed Aspie so not "getting" people is a necessary trait]. I just... this making-up scene feels so much like one of my mother's cheesy romances [which I do read, just because, for a bit of light escapism... but let's face it, it's crap writing]. I suck at writing relationships but it's a bit hard to write a novel without there being some kind of a relationship. And it's a bit hard to use characters to hurt your MC if he doesn't care about them. I will be hurting him badly late-ish in the story, using his partner [not wife, as I said they're not married] and daughter.

    Erebh yes you are spot on, Emma is the partner, Lauren is the daughter.
     
  11. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    The cute, cliche family you are talking about is the superficial show that many families, usually very unhappy below the surface, put up for others' (like neighbors and relatives) benefit. Painting a perfect family portrait doesn't mean the family is perfect and happy.

    We had a large family, I was the fourth of five siblings. We fight, we share, we compete for attention, mom and dad punished us, mom and dad sometimes fight too, but we always forgive and forget. We didn't nurture any bad feelings for each other. We may not be the perfect family, but we were undoubtedly a happy family.

    Coming back to the OP, if Beau is the father I don't understand why is there need to show his love (in a way proof his love) for Emma in those "cutesy" way. I actually start thinking may be you meant he is not the biological father and had to re-read your post. Don't get out of the way, just write them as a normal family and there is no reason for the readers to think "does he care about Emma?"

    Another point I have is this: Men are usually not so expressive about their love and care. It usually takes an inciting incident. You already have an inciting incident when he would be sort of blackmailed using his family. His love and care will be apparent when he is hurt when his family is hurt. Before this major plot incident you can also cook up some small incident, like how he bend over backward to get Emma admission to the finest school despite his tight budget, or some such incident. This shows his love and care. So, "show, don't tell" mantra is what you should be following here.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I grew up in a happy family, and now I have a happy marriage, and so does my sister. Growing up, I never knew that wasn't how everybody else was - I was told, of course, that loads of kids live in single-parent homes, but most of my friends I had at school had functional homes where at least both parents were present. Maybe because of this, I still find it really sad whenever I hear of a dysfunctional marriage/family - my husband has a dysfunctional family, though the parents are still married - and I feel sad for him often, simply because you could see it could be so good, and yet it's not, and there's not really a solution in sight. It is what it is and he just has to live with it, enjoy the good times when they're there, keep his distance when bad things are brewing.

    Anyway, wonder if I could help. Happy families... I dunno, can you be more specific? I guess one of the things I've always appreciated is how they look out for each other. My dad is prone to saying yes to anything you ask him to do, and when we were teenagers, we would often ask dad if he could drive our friends home, since it would be 10pm and dark outside. Dad always said yes. But sometimes, the friend stayed til 11pm, 11.30pm - not very often but it definitely happened - and all the same we would ask dad, "Dad, can you drive Katy home?" And he'd say yes.

    And mum would scold us, she would say, "It's so late. Why do you ask us for a lift? Your friend should've left earlier."

    Mum was never great at communication, and as teens, I hated it, because in my mind, I didn't know why she was complaining, she wasn't the one driving. Only later I realised why - she was looking out for dad. She didn't mind either dad or herself driving our friends home - in fact, she often offers - but she minded the fact that we took dad for granted, we had no consideration that dad has to get up at 8am the next morning to go to work, no consideration that it might be a hassle for him, that perhaps he's tired since he's had a full day at work and also cooked dinner and done the dishes. She was looking out for him. Sure, the way she communicated wasn't great, but I'm so glad, because I'm sure they love each other, because I see small details like this.

    Or if mum offers to pour us a cup of tea, dad would say to me, "Mum is tired, why don't you go instead? Let mum rest." When mum is asleep on the couch, dad turns the TV down so low you can't even hear anything - he puts on the subs so he can read the screen instead. He turns out all but one dim light.

    Now, mum quit her job a few years ago in order to study at Bible college. Dad fully supported her. She was studying in the east of England when my dad got a job down south, about 6 hours on the train apart. Mum encouraged him to take the job because it would be good for his future. Dad, blessed with a good manager, managed to get permission to work from the east for half the week and he commuted 6 hours twice a week for the past year, because he knows mum hates to be alone. Dad never rings anybody, but he rings mum, because he knows she needs it. For some reason, dad never takes a change of underwear when he goes for a shower, and mum would always follow him in 5-10min later with a clean pair without him asking.

    So I dunno, it's the little things. Or yesterday, my husband was out. I got sleepy so I took a nap, and I texted him to say so, because sometimes he texts or rings me to tell me he's coming home. So, since I was napping, he stayed out longer than he would've - later he told me, it's because he knows when he enters the flat, the noise will wake me. I don't like apple pie and they take forever to make, and I make them, because it's one of my husband's favourite desserts.

    In the past, I've asked my mum, what should I look for in a man? And she's always said: look for a man who's willing to sacrifice for you. That's what it boils down to.

    Hope I gave you a flavour of at least what I consider to be a happy family and how they work!

    But from the POV of someone from a dysfunctional family - say, my husband - he often misinterprets some things I do or say. Things I thought were harmless, he'd take great offence - there's a sensitivity about him that I don't always get, and that sometimes I hurt without meaning to. He grew up in a family where he had no personal space - everyone demanded his attention and the consequences would be grave if he did not respond. So now, in our own home, when he's doing his own thing by the computer, he hates to be disturbed. Sometimes if I start talking to him when he's at his laptop, he becomes very tensed, his voice becomes cold, but he always responds. Of course I catch on and I ask him what's wrong, and he'd tell me, "You're not giving me space! I can't have a moment of quiet!"

    It's something I don't always understand. He's overreacting because he feels trapped, because he's so familiar with things being demanded of him, of not having freedom (he developed severe asthma at a young age thanks to this). I explain to him that's not how I meant it at all, and he calms down. In my house, everyone can talk to anyone at any time, but none of that is a "demand" - if you want the person to leave you alone for a second, you just say so, and they would be quiet and wait. Simple. Not so in my husband's house - there's no such thing as asking the other person to wait, no such thing as the ability to say no.

    If I ask my husband to do something, for example, "Could you do the dishes?" He'd get very stressed. After a few years I finally understood why. He felt it as a demand, not a request, no matter which way I put the question. And on top of this, he felt it as something he MUST DO RIGHT AWAY. Absolutely MUST do right away. And so he feels pressured, because that's how it was when he grew up. If something wasn't done the moment his mother asked, he'd get a beating. If it wasn't done to the superb standard expected of him, he'd get a beating. So, now, when I ask something of him, I always add, "You don't have to do it right now." And I repeat this several times to make sure he knows.

    So maybe that would give you a flavour of how someone from a dysfunctional family might operate when involved in a healthy relationship?
     
  13. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not so sure there'd be an "official" making up moment, especially if the fight didn't actually occur. For one thing, whatever the fight was about wasn't resolved, so it's still festering and would need to be addressed. But, in addition, even after the issue is addressed, there's a good chance there's not going to be some kind of acknowledgement of being wrong or even further discussion of the issue after it's discussed. If it's the sort of thing where one of the people decides after the fight that the other person had a point or was right about something, then they might just give in. For example, if they're fighting about how he's a workaholic, and she's been saying he's never around, the kid is disappointed, etc., and he replies that this is his job and he has to earn the money for the family, and he's trying to get this new position and his boss is demanding, etc., but then later on he realizes that he can make more time for the kid or whatever, he might not come back and say that he's sorry. He might just come home and say something like, "I was thinking we should all go to the park together on Saturday, and I saw the circus is in town, so I could get tickets for us tomorrow." Or he'd get home early from work that night, to have dinner with the family, which he often misses. The discussion could go something like "You're home early." Then he'd reply, "Well, I was able to move this meeting." And that could be it -- the wife/partner would know that this was in response to the earlier fight, but it wouldn't be an "I'm so sorry. You are right. I will make time for you and our child. You are the most important people int he world to me."
     
  14. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Hi Shandeh! Well, congratulatons on tackling a subject you find difficult to deal with. If you stick to the job, you'll be amazed at what you learn.

    I rather like the suggestion from Jazzabel, that Beau comes from a dysfunctional family like yours, and that he sometimes struggles to be happy because his only experience with relationships has been the opposite. Presumably he had to watch his parents not getting along (or if he was very young when they actually split, he had to deal with the fallout.)

    Okay, at some point, you, who came from a dysfunctional family, must have imagined what it would have been like to have a 'normal' family instead. What kinds of things did you imagine your 'normal' family would do —or NOT do? What kind of people would they have been? Did any of your friends come from 'happy' homes? What were their parents like? What did you see so-called 'happy' couples doing?

    I think it's a hugely theraputic exercise, if there is something in your life that bothers you, or hurt you, and you want to write about it. CHANGE IT! And that's what you're trying to do.

    I would guard against getting ideas about happy relationships from romance stories. These are designed to be 'escapist' and consequently not real. If you copy them, thinking this is what real happiness looks like, your writing is going to be unrealistic. I think you've already sensed this, which is why you've posed this very interesting question to us.

    Instead, I would trust your own self and powers of observation. If you could have had a different home life, what (specifically) would have been different? Turn your life on its head, but do it in specific ways. Not things like 'I would have liked my parents to be happy," but "I would have liked both my parents to come to watch me in the school play because they were proud of me and thought I might become an actor when I grew up, instead of just my mother turning up 'to keep up appearances' and my dad refusing to come at all because my mother always made fun of him in public."

    If you play around with specifics like this, you'll come up with lots of things to write about. The key is to decide what you would like your characters to do, and then decide WHY they would do it. There always has to be motivation. You don't always have to write about the motivation directly ...in fact, be careful about that, because it can easily become telling and not showing. But you must ALWAYS know your characters' motivation inside your own head. Never have one of your characters do something, if you, the writer, doesn't know why they did it.

    Good luck! And, by the way, I LOVE the name "Beau." You're quite right to stick with it, if you like it. It's your writing, not his name, which will make him 'real.' And, incidentally, there is a famous, serious actor out there named Beau Bridges!
     
  15. Shandeh
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    Shandeh Active Member

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    killbill, Lauren is the daughter, Emma is the girlfriend :) Sorry, I wasn't very clear!

    Thanks all :) You've all given me some amazing ideas to play with.

    It isn't easy for Beau to schedule specific 'family time' because of what he does for work. He's basically permanently on call, if they get a case he has to go in regardless of what he has planned. His boss is super understanding of family stuff, but unfortunately the nature of the work is that the entire team is needed at least for briefing on new cases. It's basically just bad luck that the team was brought in on a case on this particular morning, because it's the daughter's birthday and Beau had big plans that Lauren was super excited about. It all still happened, just without "Daddy". And Lauren's upset about that, so Emma is furious. Beau loves her, but is terrified of her when she's mad, so now I think about it there is definitely going to be ongoing tension. Reluctance on Beau's part to go inside, then wariness when he gets in. Anger on Emma's part that's been simmering all day. Yikes. That scene really does need a full re-write.
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    This actually strikes me as sort of dysfunctional. :) I don't know if you consider this a good or a bad thing.

    The dysfunctional bits that I see:

    - One partner should not be "terrified" of another partner's anger.

    - It seems irrational to me for Emma to be angry at Beau for something that he has zero control over. That is, if she supports his holding this job, and he fairly frequently gets called in, then I don't see that he's done anything wrong. That doesn't mean that she won't be angry; people, even mentally healthy usually-rational people, are sometimes irrationally angry. But the idea that he _knows_ that she will be furious suggests that she's frequently angry at him for things that are not under his control.

    Of course, maybe there's a way that this is under his control. Maybe he really could have refused to come in. Maybe he made big specific plans with Lauren when Emma has asked him to stop doing that, given that he can't rely on carrying out plans. Maybe Emma wants him to quit his job and he refuses and keeps minimizing the impact that his job has over his family. Maybe he was supposed to do some prep work for the occasion and he put it off until the last minute, so that now Emma is stuck with it. All of those things are under his control, and would make Emma's anger make more sense to me.

    Again, there's nothing unusual about people being angry at other people and punishing them for things that are not under their control. But it is dysfunctional behavior.
     
  17. Shandeh
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    Shandeh Active Member

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    lol, Beau is scared of anger full stop [Aspie trait, a lot of us don't like confrontation]. He's actually the dysfunctional one, if you want to get into the nitty-gritty of it. He has learned how to behave to avoid unnecessary conflict, which does make him very high functioning on the spectrum [ie his social skills are actually very good, but it's exhausting for him], but he does still struggle to understand people, and he is definitely scared of anger.

    Emma is a mother, does she have to be rational? Hahahaha she's very much like a mother bear, she doesn't care WHO you are, if you hurt her baby, you're going to regret it. Most of the time she doesn't mean the threats she makes but, nevertheless, she's frightening when she's mad.

    There are many reasons Emma believes this IS under his control. Beau is not that great at thinking in different directions, so he can't even see that there are possible solutions. Technically he only HAS to attend the briefing, but he'll stick around for the rest of the day because his boss wants him.

    Either way, it sounds like even the happiest of relationships have their dysfunctional moments.
     
  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mommy scaring Daddy hurts baby. :) I assure you. There's ample dysfunction here. And that's just fine; it makes the fiction more interesting.
     
  19. Shandeh
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    Shandeh Active Member

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    When I get around to the next re-write [have been busy fighting with the new computer... am not tech savvy AT ALL hahaha] I'll keep that in mind :) There is lots of love in this family, but I guess my re-working has introduced some dysfunction as well. People can still be overall happy in a relationship that isn't perfect - after all, no relationship is perfect, and there are plenty of happy people out there!!

    Emma's actually sort of modeled after my mother in a way, and yeah... maybe not the best person to base a character off if you want a happy family. Oh well. I can make it work, it'll just take a lot of work. Story of my writing life! If it's easy, you're not trying hard enough XD
     
  20. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    WHY do Emma and Beau love each other? What brought them together in the first place? Are those aspects still strong in the marriage, or did they both expect more/different things from the partnership? Is either one of them feeling disappointed? Did Emma display anger and scare Beau before their marriage, or is this something that only appeared later on? Did he allow his work to get in the way of their relationship before they were married, and if so, did she resent it then?

    I think if you answer these questions, and focus on what has changed between them (if things have changed) you'll be further forward at creating this story.
     
  21. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is true, but I just want to point out that it is possible for a person to be angry and frustrated with the situation or circumstances, while not necessarily being angry at the person, and understanding that he did not have control of the situation. Here, Emma can teach Lauren that Daddy has an important job, and that sometimes things happen that he has to deal with for the job, but it doesn't mean he doesn't love her. He has to do the job to get money to pay for things like their house and her birthday party, etc.

    This is really the big problem. If she's angry because she believes that he has the ability to change the situation but simply chooses not to. That indicates, to her, that for him, the family is simply not a high enough priority. This is much more difficult to fix, and should play out in other areas as well.
     
  22. Shandeh
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    Shandeh Active Member

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    Thanks again all :) once I've re-written I'll stick up a little section for thoughts on how to make it more realistic, as requested.

    I would re-write on my laptop but I'm still trying to figure out how to edit Microsoft documents on a Chromebook... it can be done, I just don't know how. Yet.
     
  23. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Leon Tolstoy said "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way".
     
  24. Shandeh
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    Shandeh Active Member

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    First draft of the second go at the family scene :) please do bear in mind this isn't the whole thing [it's rather wordy... long fight and my MC has a tendency to over-think things], and Beau will probably lose his cool when they go back to the fight later.

    Emma emerged from the kitchen, covered in cake batter. Lauren’s idea, no doubt. “I’m still mad.”

    “I know.” I carried Lauren into the kitchen. Emma could follow if she wanted. I didn’t want to have this fight. Not now, not ever.

    “You really hurt her feelings, Beau.”

    “I’ll make it up to her.” I bounced Lauren a few times. “Won’t I, big grown-up five-year-old?”

    “Daddy always makes it better,” Lauren said, in that way children sometimes had of being both wise and naive at the same time.

    “Why bother? You always just hurt her again. It’s always the damn FBI. If you’re not tired because of a case, you have to leave because of a case, or you’ve had to go away for ‘training’.”

    Hey, now that just wasn’t fair. I took a deep breath to keep my temper under control. No use in adding fuel to the fire. I put Lauren on the kitchen bench - what little of it wasn’t as covered in cake batter as Emma - and went around the breakfast bar to sit down on one of the stools. “Do we have to have this fight in front of Lauren?”

    Do we have to have this fight in front of Lauren?! Are you even hearing yourself right now? We wouldn’t be having this fight in the first place if you could keep your promises!”

    Stiffly, I rose again and took off my gun belt. I hoped I had more self-control than to hurt Emma, but it was basic training. Never, ever carry a gun angry. That much would guarantee that even if I did snap, it would be rather difficult for me to do any real damage.

    Defaulting to the conflict resolution strategies I had learned, I said, “I’m angry now. I need to go and calm down.” Emma shot me a death glare and I almost backed down, but Lauren was tugging on the leg of my pants. “I can take Lauren for a while. The zoo’s still open for another hour, this time of year.”

    Please bear in mind I am not asking for a critique on this. I just want to know how realistic it feels. It feels better, to me, than the cheesy happy scene I had before. I'll play with it in editing and re-write some of the tell, so this is most certainly not the final version!!
     
  25. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Every family is different, and there are billions of them, and they are incredibly complex. And fiction gives you even more space. Noone can tell you your family relationships are implausible or unrealistic. Just go for it and have fun. That said, if you don't have much experience with family or specific family relations yourself, I suggest you ask for advice, write what you know or use your imagination and a little more time that you would with that aspect otherwise. Good luck. I think you'll do fine, as it's probably not really that hard after all, and families can be everything from wacky or funny to odd or abusive.
     

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