1. Michel Zhivago
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    Michel Zhivago Member

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    Writing an orphan?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Michel Zhivago, Jan 14, 2009.

    So I have a bit of a problem - I've decided I want my central character (name of Leo) to be an orphan, but I don't really know an awful lot about the experiences of orphans particularly - I was intending him to be orphaned from a very early age, perhaps old enough to just about remember them. Can anyone recommend some good modern books (as modern as possible, it'd be a late-80s/early-90s birth date, probably) from the viewpoints of orphans, or decent sources of real-life info?

    I also can't decide whether to have him live with a relative or in an orphanage, or with a friend's parent (in which case I'd probably have his parents die in his teenage years). The parents die before Day 1 of the story, although I may jump back to it.

    It just annoys me, I have this character well sketched out otherwise, but I can't get inside the guy's head with regard to parents/guardians.
     
  2. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Micheal can I recommend you the Character Interview thread...I can always help ya that way to get more into his head.
    I don't know any orphan books...except maybe Harry Potter, but he really wasn't an orphan.
     
  3. Michel Zhivago
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    Michel Zhivago Member

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    Thanks very much Leaka, I'll give it a look - although if anyone else has any more sources of information, please do let me know. :)
     
  4. jwilder
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    jwilder Member

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    "A Boy Called It" and the "The Lost Boy", both by Dave Pelzer, are good sort-of orphan books. They chronicle the author's abusive childhood and eventual move into foster care. While he's not truly an orphan, he essentially becomes one under his mother's abuse and the subsequent foster care. If nothing else, the books are a great look into the mental and emotional situations of a neglected, forgotten child growing into adolescence.
     
  5. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    An orphan's memories and feelings are probably affected by the care they get while they are young children. My step-daughter can't remember anything at all, or so she claims, before the age of 6 (her mother walked out on her and my husband). When she was 14, I mentioned this to a professional who said this was a perfectly normal trauma response. She also stopped growing for about 2 years.
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Lightning by Dean Koontz.

    A lot of the novel takes place in an Orphanage. Great novel too.
     
  7. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wouldn't know any orphan books but I find a lot of my young characters tend to be orphans. I've written so many orphans, it's more rare when I decide to write about a kid who has both parents. lol I never really felt the need to read a book cause I don't think there is a general viewpoint for writing an orphan. Your character's unique circumstances will determine how you should write him.

    As has been previously stated, the character interview thread is the best place I can recommend.
     
  8. Forgetmenot77
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    Forgetmenot77 Senior Member

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    Charles Dickens has a book can't remember the name of it though. Does anyone remember?
     
  9. Forgetmenot77
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    Forgetmenot77 Senior Member

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    Oliver?
     
  10. Forgetmenot77
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    Forgetmenot77 Senior Member

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    My parents were both deceased when I was a teenager and I lived with my cousins. I think you would get a better feel of it if you were to read Oliver though.
     
  11. jwilder
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    jwilder Member

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    Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens. Oliver Twist, also.
     
  12. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Oliver Twist and a lot of RPG games have orphans as protagonists and look at the Jasmes Bond books too, because he's an orphan as well.
     
  13. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't forget that Charles Dickens was NOT an orphan, though he had a tough childhood.
     
  14. Michel Zhivago
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    Michel Zhivago Member

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    Thanks very much for your help, all - I think I'm going to steer clear of Dickens, just because I'm trying to look for experiences of more modern orphans. I'll see about getting Dave Pelzer from the library, and I'm also going to check out the Koontz book.
    As a massive fan of the James Bond films, if not the books, I didn't think any of them really paid much attention to his parents or lack thereof?
    I've also been pointed by a friend to Zhuolio Wu's Orphan of Asia, has anyone read that?
     
  15. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Casino Royale made a mention to it. It was the conversation between James and ummm, umm, I forget her name, oh wait I got it. Vesper!
     
  16. Michel Zhivago
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    Michel Zhivago Member

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    Right you are - so it did. I'll go and look it out, thanks!
     
  17. JohnNoZ
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    JohnNoZ Member

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    There are books on foster parenting (as has been alluded to) that discuss children dealing with profound loss. The specific type of loss really does not matter in many cases.
     
  18. Fire of a Rose
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    Fire of a Rose Member

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    Oliver Twist.
     
  19. ArckAngel
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    ArckAngel Member

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    Oliver Twist...
    It's a classic...
    But that's set in the Victorian era...
     

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