1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Is this something siblings would do, or something lovers would do?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Link the Writer, Oct 16, 2015.

    Kind of need help here...

    The context is this: I have my main character and her older sibling (MC is 14 and sibling is 16. They're both female) riding in an open carriage en route to their family home. The MC has cervical dystonia, a painful muscle spasm of the neck and at that moment, her neck is killing her (figuratively speaking.) The back ends of the seat isn't high enough for her to just slouch down and prop her head up on it. Her older sibling suggests she puts her head on the older sibling's lap. She does so and the older sibling begins to gently massage the MC's neck and shoulders.

    Trouble is, I can't help but think, "Wait a moment, this sounds like something lovers would do, not siblings." The idea is that I want to show that the elder sibling cares about her little sister, but I don't know how to go about it without making it look kind of creepy.

    Basically...how do you show siblings caring for each other/showing affection without it looking like they're lovers? :D I really don't know how to write siblings, apparently. :p
     
  2. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    Siblings would do this, but it wouldn't last long. I've got boys so I expect one to say, "Sure put your head in my lap." Then refuse to let him back up or fart or something equally annoying. Not sure how girls would act.
     
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  3. lifeisastory
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    lifeisastory Member

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    I think If you avoid sentences such as "she moaned in pain" you should be fine :D
    No but seriously, this is an innocent act and it sounds like one. Unless - of course - your dirty mind hears what it wants to hear. Sure, the scene can be interpreted in a sexual way but if the rest of The story does not contain any further scenes that go into that direction between the sisters, I don't see why anyone would. You would have to emphisize the worries the older sister has about the younger one's pain though, to make her motivations crystal clear
     
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  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    :superlaugh: Somehow I expect the younger one might decide to fart and say something nasty that would make the older sister go "Ugh!" and push her back up.

    Bingo. Even though it's from the MC's POV, I want to make it crystal clear that the older one's just trying to be a helpful sibling. Granted more of an overly-protective sort of helpful, but just helpful.
     
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  5. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    Link, it all depends on their relationship. Are they the kind of sisters who fight all the time? Do they get along? Are they inseparable? How does the disease affect their interactions?

    @KhalieLa illustrated my relationship with my brother pretty accurately. He's 3 years older than me and pulls that kind of shit all the time. I can't get near him without him instigating something.

    I don't have a sister, but my best friend in gradeschool was as close as it would have come. She um. o_O I think she would have sooner punched me in the tit before offering for me to put my head on her lap... Not sure if that's common with girls (most of my friends are male). :superlaugh:
     
  6. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe mention the cervical dystonia in a different scene before this one, just as a way of putting more of the focus on how much pain the younger sister would be in and less on how specifically the older sister relieves the pain?
     
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  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Oh the readers know about the dystonia well before this scene, I just wanted to make sure it didn't look a little off for her to be doing that.
     
  8. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You should be good then ;)
     
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  9. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do this with my brother all the time...
     
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  10. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    'It seemed so right at the time,' said @123456789 to the clinical investigative magistrate. 'One minute he spasmed at the neck, next was in my lap, biting at the fly. I kicked him, face, zipper remnants in those teeth. Probably I have ruined our entire relationship, y'know. I feel so dreadful.'
     
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  11. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I can see myself rest my head on my brother's lap for the reason described in your story, but for whatever reason I can't imagine it the other way around. Maybe it's 'cause he's my big brother, plus he'd never show the kind of "weakness" a muscle spam is. He'd crawl on his face rather than expected help and support from me if it was a one-time thing. :p It would probably be different with a chronic injury.

    Between sisters, I see what you described happen very believably. I never had a sister, but I have a half-niece who's a few years younger than me (yeah, it's weird) and felt like a little sister to me when we were younger. We were close, so hugging, massaging of the neck and shoulders, leaning on each other etc. was normal behavior, nothing sexual in it (we are both straight).

    However, I think what you should do also depends on your characters and their bond. I can just as easily see two women and sisters be very non touchy feely around each other. I've been in that kind of friendships as well, as usually I'm on the non touchy-feely end of the spectrum myself.
     
  12. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    I have a sister, and absolutely yes, we would do this for each other. And it wouldn't be weird. I have two brothers too and no, we probably wouldn't do this for each other. I don't think it would be weird, I just think it's because my brothers wouldn't think to offer if I were the one with the neck pain, and if they were the one in pain they wouldn't vocalize it enough for me to think to offer it to them. But between my sister an I? Oh yeah. Definitely.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first thought was that if you lose the word "gently", you lose much of the vibe that you're worried about. If you want the idea without the word, you could go with "gingerly" or "carefully." Gently sounds to me like she's comfortable with the situation and sort of into it; the other two have more of a helpful, dutiful, vibe to me, with a sense that she'd rather have more distance.
     
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  14. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Interesting. I didn't realize that 'gently' could make the same scene look different. I just figured, 'Well, she doesn't want to hurt her sister, so of course she's going to be gentle when she massages the neck and shoulders.'

    Then again, the older sister is an extremely attentive, overly-helpful person, something that usually annoys the younger sister (though she is aware that the older sister is just trying to help.) In this case, it's a sort of, "OK, fine, go ahead; I'll let you have this one." response from the younger sister.

    It's amazing how different words can convey different meanings for the same scene. :D
     
  15. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have an older sister who I also consider a very close friend. No I would not give her a massage, that would just be weird.
     
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  16. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think @Link that all roads are permissible in this scenario. Thinking nothing ever exists at all till we, the creators, great tribe of pen, write it upon our screens - the tablets of our stones. Let me see:

    'My shoulders feel dreadful,' said my sister.

    She moaned here in the misted interior of our taxi cab. Sympathetic, I reached across with a comforting palm, rubbed her left breast.

    If I might just workshop a little longer:

    'That feels so good,' she said.

    I blew upon palms, worked them both, one clockwise, one a counter-clockwise motion: window cleaner, two rags wiping two panes, or breasts of woman.

    'Stop that,' she said, 'my neck - you fool, I have cancer of the spine.'

    'Of course, my darling,' I replied, reached deep into the shopping basket, unstoppered baby oil...hmm, hmm...' delete
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
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  17. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Oh God, that gave me some much, much needed laughter. Been feeling kind of sick lately (damn you, allergies) and needed this. You're awesome.

    Though I imagine both of them would hit you in the face if they found out what you wrote. :p
     
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  18. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I think this is something siblings and lovers would do.

    I also think that if the siblings are lovers they would do it as well.
     
  19. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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  20. edamame
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    edamame Contributing Member Contributor

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    As a woman with siblings, I've sat with my sisters on a couch with maybe a foot thrown over a leg but massages are reserved for mom and we've never rested our heads in each others' laps. Sometimes, we've fallen asleep on each others shoulders when traveling. I've always thought what you are suggesting was a rosy picture of female affection/friendship concocted in Victorian novels, but apparently, other posters have proven me wrong. :p
     
  21. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I've had some more thoughts about this and I've come to conclude that given what I know of the MC, she would likely not allow this to happen and would bop her sister upside the head for suggesting it.

    Ah well, it was worth asking for your opinions and to get a laugh from that...ah...interesting sketch painted by matwoolf. :D

    Thanks again, everyone.
     
  22. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    Unusual yes... relationships are always weird and certain accommodations are made for the ill. Though from experience - it would be probably more uncomfortable then switching places and arching one's back to be the support. Back to back is a possibility depending on size, but the slightest jolt from being in another's lap and coupled with the awkward position of your legs may be more uncomfortable. Another note, have you tried to massage someone in that position, it is not really possible.

    I'd have more of a time believing it if the sister was sitting on the floor with her legs tucked in, resting between her sister's legs so that her head is resting on her groin. That is still very possible to massage the neck and shoulders, also... I love that type of neck massage. Just to be clear, both persons face the same direction -outward- she is not going to bury her nose in her sister's crotch.
     
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  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Ah, thanks for the information, I hadn't considered that. It would be a lot easier for both of them if the little sister was on the floor rather than the awkward 'bend over sideways' so the sister has to sort of bend her arms in an awkward way to massage her.
     
  24. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    The one I mentioned was a lot more intimate - but it is an actual "my neck is killing me and I am traveling over the blasted dirt roads for miles" variant. We have comfy large seats, but I did used to sit "Indian style" on the floor and lean my head back, but my neck is higher than the seat. Though the position allows someone shorter than me to give real good neck massages! I get painful knots in my neck from time to time, and rough roads always make it worse. I sometimes fall asleep from the motion - though I always wake up when we hit the downhill gravel part of the dirt road.

    Though if you are riding in a carriage by horse - you are essentially screwed either way. They move slow and every dip is felt and there is no shock absorption. Our dirt roads around here have rain channels which are like inverted speed bumps to prevent hills from washing out. A layer of course stone topped with gravel and silt mixture and pounded down - hitting it with a car or a carriage is annoying being you have the drop of the wheel into and then out above the far edge. They typically last 2-3 years before requiring maintenance, but when it strikes the wheels of the carriage it is really annoying. When we have big storms they end up having little floodplain like channels and the horses might not be able to go up a 20 degree incline with them - so yeah, no carriage rides for awhile.

    If you are riding on cobblestones is kind of weird, since its more level, but its still bumpy if the ground shifts in the winter. Father spent a week digging out the loose brick floor in the old barn and releveling everything with a string level - though it had probably been a long long time since it was done properly. Our roads are horrible, even the suspension on the cars get shot very quickly because of how rough it is. Went to Disney World on "Test Track" and was thoroughly pissed off because getting out of my driveway is more intense.
     
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  25. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    :ohno:

    Clearly more research is needed on the effects of carriage on gravel/dirt road on the back and neck is needed. I imagine the little sister would not be looking forward to carriage rides at all as it would make her neck and shoulders hurt quite a lot I imagine.

    Thanks for the information, I hadn't considered that. I've mainly been researching the actual condition of cervical dystonia. You've given me new things to research, so thanks. :-D
     
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