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August 28, 2019

In your writing, how much does family life play a role in your story/plot?

No matter what your world, family, in some form, provides plenty of plot fodder.


I’ve recently read books where family had from major to negligible influence on the plot.

In a recent one, it was all about family. In fact, while the main plot was about a murder, the reason for the murder was because the victim disrupted a family.

In the book before that, the hero didn’t have a family. However, he was protecting civilization so everyone else COULD have families. In this case, the contribution was indirectly about families.


Most people like that sense of belonging. Of course, there are a few who could care less, and a few who dislike families for whatever reasons. The majority desire some sense of belonging. Stories that provide a sense of belonging usually work better.

Incorporating some sort of family into the characters of your novel can be done in sneaky ways. A partnership is one example. The staff of an agency is another. How about a team that becomes close through trial and tribulation? Maybe everyone hates each other at first, but through adversity, learns to rely and respect each other? They become “family” by the end of the book.

This sense of family is a sneaky, if not overt way of incorporating that into the story.


When you cite the solo adventure such as the Old Man And The Sea, or something of that nature, it’s hard to have a family involved when the main character is the ONLY character in the story! Then again, quite often throughout the story, the character thinks about their family.

Some people love these loner stories, even if there’s a cast of many. The main character stays to him or herself despite any interactions with others. THIS is the same isolated feeling that drives these people. There is no family because they either don’t have one or are trying to escape one. The reader can relate to that, or wants to.

In other words…

Stories like these could be a refreshing break from the miseries or stresses of everyday life for some people. It’s a natural thing.

On the other hand, the majority of us celebrate family, much of the time despite the family pressures and stresses of everyday life.


Have you ever stopped to consider what role family plays in your writing? For some of us, it’s an unconscious thing, while for others, it may be deliberate.

It wouldn’t hurt to step back and see where you stand, just for a hoot. It may help you understand and improve your story.

Happy writing!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2019 6:32 pm

    To hearing from you. Found you a classmate. Here in Palmdale. I was station at Incirlik AB Turkey in 1984-88. Inspired to passion for reading and writing.

    • October 5, 2019 1:02 pm


      Great to hear from you. We probably did know each other or at least ran into each other over there. I was there the second time between 85-88 and worked in QA in Det 92. I tried to reach out to you on Classmates but there’s some nasty virus going around there and I couldn’t complete the message. Had some great times there and quite awful ones as well! Mostly good though! Where did you work? Would love to hear more from you!

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