Things Have Been Rather Yellow and Black Recently

I don’t tend to do a lot in yellow or black, but by coincidence both the hat I crocheted last week and the scarf I’m now knitting are in those colors.

The hat was a present for my nephew.

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And the scarf is for me.

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The scarf has a story. It turns out four members of one of my writing groups are all in different Hogwarts houses (according to Pottermore). Back in elementary school and junior high I liked to think I was a Gryffindor, in high school I prided myself on being a Ravenclaw, but I have recently come to accept and embrace that I really have been a Hufflepuff all along. If you will, I’ve come out of the Hufflepuff closet.

On an unrelated note, Featherfolk is gliding along!

Happy Yarning.

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Book Report: Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett

IMG_4507Little Lord Fauntleroy is a quick, happy read. I enjoyed it quite a bit more than I anticipated.

The narrator’s droll voice had me smiling or chuckling nearly every page. The characters are not very complex, but I loved them anyway. I felt I knew them from the moment they stepped into the story.

Recommended for everyone.

Happy Yarning!

P.S. Pretty sure I know now who Cedric Diggory’s namesake is. Just saying.

Family Dynamics in Fiction

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With my in-laws in town this week, I’ve been thinking of fictional families and how to go about writing them. I’m lucky to have grown up in a family where we all got along well the majority of the time, and I have awesome in-laws. With this background, I tend to write very “functional” families. It sometimes bothered me that lots of families in fiction are stuffed full of conflict.

But in recent years, my immediate family has been afflicted with a few falling-outs. I’ve come to see that while I, as a rather easy-going person, never had much conflict with family members, there was sometimes tension between members of my family that I was unaware of until it erupted later.

So even my “ideal” family had tensions and conflicts.

Here are my thoughts:

First of all, give your characters families. It’s easy to make an orphan or estranged character with no ties to family. It simplifies the story. But in reality, there are very few of these loners. Even Harry had the Dursleys, and Pip had Joe and Mrs. Joe.

While family doesn’t need to play a large role in every story, you should know about your characters’ families and how interactions with them have shaped your characters.

Ask questions:

Where is there tension? Where is there not tension?

How severe is the tension, and is the main character aware of it?

Does it affect the plot? How?

My main advice for writing realistic families (and I need to be better at following this myself) is to avoid extremes. Don’t just write a perfectly loving and always understanding and tolerant family, or a completely dysfunctional and always bickering family. Both of these are parodies. Find the balance in between that is suitable for your character’s family, and let them influence him/her.

Just some thoughts.

Happy Yarning!