Role of siblings

The role of siblings in stories

The last few days, I’ve been taking advantage of quiet times when the kids have been playing with their Christmas presents to work on one or two manuscripts. These include the next book in the Green Oaks Primary School series as well as a couple of other stories.

One interesting issue that has come up in one of my stories is whether or not a character has any siblings. In the very first draft I wrote, the main character has a younger brother. After nutting out a few issues with the shape of the story, changing the younger brother to an older brother may cause some interesting conflict in the story.

In Swallow Me, NOW!, Sam is an only child. The main reason for this is that there was no role for siblings in the story, so it didn’t occur to me to give her brothers or sisters. In another book I’m writing, the main character has two older brothers that everyone compares him to. The brothers don’t appear a lot in the story, but their impact on the life of the main character is huge.

Another story I’m working on, I’m trying to decide whether or not the main character has an older or younger brother (or both). As part of my planning here, I’m trying to work out what the role of the sibling will be. Will he be able to help the main character reach his goal, or will he be one of the obstacles the main character must overcome to achieve his goal? There’s even the possibility that the sibling could turn into one of the villains at some point later in the story. There are a lot of possibilities that I’m exploring.

The role of siblings can play an important role in the life of the main character. If you have siblings, think about their role in your life. Love them or hate them, they’re there and have an impact. This needs to be remembered when writing your story, if possible, before you write them in. Another tip when writing siblings into your story is not forgetting they are there!

I’m still working through the options of siblings in this particular story, and a couple of others I’m working on. It’s always worth remembering that if they aren’t doing anything to move the story forward, it might be better to make your main character an only child.

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About Melissa

Melissa Gijsbers started writing when she was in High School during the 1990s, even winning some awards for a short story and a script. For many years, life got in the way of creative writing, however she did start blogging around 2006.

She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with her two sons and a pet blue tongue lizard.

Melissa Gijsbers, Author, Speaker & Booklover
Melissa Gijsbers - Author, Speaker & Booklover
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