I was considering what to do for today since Mondays and Fridays are my character discussion days. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I could do another interview with one of my characters. It's not as if I don't have a number of them clamoring for attention. But today I wanted to talk to you about one of my favorite things to include in a story – family life and children.
Don't get me wrong, I do have the tragic family situations. Those are a little overused but in Marked I have it happen. It's important to the shaping of the character. In Burning Dreams I do the same thing. But in Cracked World and Shifting Sands their family lives are much different. They love their parents, they have siblings, and the main characters have wives of sorts and children. And they don't lose any of them to tragic circumstances.
I use families to build up a character and give an idea into a side of their personality that may not be seen otherwise. They can be these powerful beings who command armies, and who melt at the sight of their sons and daughters. They cuddle with them, the tell them stories, they play with them. They are real people.
In Marked, one of the side characters has multiple children. My main character interacts with them and grows very fond of them. She'll associate with them, roughhouse with them, and give them reassurances as their mother does. She will address them as real people. She accepts them as part of her life even though she herself doesn't have any children. When she goes to be a healer in a large city, she adopts a pack of children from the streets. She feeds them, gives them employment and housing which protects them, and shows them a lot of affection. Again, she loves the children even though they're not her own.
Family life doesn't have to be tragic or sad. It can be warm and happy. Something will be different, something will change, but they can still be happy. Don't discount how much love and affection that their families can provide.