I like writing siblings, but I'm an only child [discussion]

I just thought it would be fun to talk about this.

I like writing different sibling dynamics. Everyone around me has siblings except for one of my college friends. I tend to make friends with people who have siblings.

Which is interesting. Opposites attract, am I right? :stuck_out_tongue:

And maybe it’s that same opposites attract situation that makes me want to write characters with various types of sibling relationships.

Makes me wonder if people with siblings are curious or interested about only-child households. Do they tend to write characters with siblings because they have them, or do those writers tend to write only child MCs because it’s opposites attract?

Idk if I can name an only child MC in any of my stories XD

Let’s see…

a quest for books with only child MCs

World of Elgana Books MCs
Pinti: little sister (Tendri)
Cypur (adopted): younger brother (Jarvur)
Scotch: older sister (Taffita) and twin sister (Butter)
Kaiver: older half-brother (Vaiter)
Sovanna: older sister (Rathana)

Well, would you look at that :stuck_out_tongue:

Wait, I do have one.
New Soleil Books
Eryn is an only child :grin:
Bethany: might have a secret twin sister living in another realm or something

Ozel Emla Series
Argenton: three older half-sisters (don’t ask me to name them :sweat_smile: )
Glint: oh hey! Glint is an only child! (as far as we know)
Danlen (adopted): younger sister (Calani), and younger brothers that are twins (Reten and Eten) and another younger brother (Pem)
Jasper: older brother (Mitchell)

That’s a lot of books already :sweat_smile: And only TWO don’t have siblings.

Analyzing my use of siblings

I tend to write siblings with large age gaps because that’s interesting to me :stuck_out_tongue: Also seem to write characters with older siblings than younger siblings. No particular reason for that which I can think of.

Scotch is the only one whose sibling relationship plays zero part in the story. Just mentioned here and there as conversation. Cypur’s relationship with his brother is touched upon, but doesn’t affect too much of the plot.

Everyone else, their siblings affect the plot in some way. Some, like Jasper is in a big way. Jasper has to go save his brother from captivity but ends up having to leave him behind.

Argenton’s sisters play into a plot twist that changes everything for him. It’s a lot.

If you like writing siblings, what is it about them that you like to write about? Are there types of siblings you write about more than other types? Why’s that you think?

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I am an only child too!
I’ve noticed that most of my characters have a sibling or a bunch of siblings.

Growing up, I’ve always wanted a twin sister for some reason. I guess I didn’t want to play the role of older, middle, or younger sibling.

I try to write a decent sibling relationship, but most of the time it is siblings pitted against each other or something else lacking.

I still trying in a sense. :sweat_smile:

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Wonky relationships are the most fun to explore though :stuck_out_tongue:

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My post is sort of off-topic, but I have character patterns that contrast with myself; namely, many of my MCs are female when I’m male, and a lot of them are queer while I’m straight.

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Family dynamics, if there’s a 7 year age gap between you and all your siblings, you’re effectively an only child.

I’m the oldest of 5. A sister a year younger than me who died. A brother almost 4 years younger, almost 10 years later a miscarriage, and almost 11 years the baby.

While there’s love there, legitimately there’s never been a closeness to the youngest brother as he got older: no equality, no sharing personal struggles. Now we are early 40s and early 30s, have kids roughly the same age, and I don’t think I text him at all: he initiates 3-4 times a year. It’s almost like we aren’t related at all.

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So, if you write siblings, do you tend to have ones with large age gaps?

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In the Game of the Gods, MC doesn’t know her family at all. ML is 50 years older than his oldest brother. Sister and other siblings are younger than that.

To Make a Kinder Children’s tale, she’s got 50ish–whole clan of thieves, no one knew the possible relationships except the father so she grew up with colleagues not siblings, he’s the baby of 3, closer to his cousin as a sibling.

Mini Moo: MC is 3 similar age siblings to mine, ML is only child.

Begging is for Losers is MC believed only child: real parents bred like rabbits. ML is 3 brothers about 2-3 years younger than him, and surprise sisters with no attached ages, but roughly about him and his brother’s ages.

A lot of times I just don’t address if there’s siblings.

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I also write siblings and am an only child :joy: I’m friends with some other only children and we all basically adopted each other as siblings and have tricked people into thinking we actually are related. Same thing with some people with siblings, too. It’s so weird :joy:

Some of my characters have siblings and the relationships vary between people and families

  • some get along with certain siblings but not others
  • some just don’t get along with their siblings and pretend they don’t exist
  • some are very close to their siblings
  • some have a love-hate relationship
  • some only support them because of family obligations

I think the best one I’m currently working on is the relationship between my MC and her twin. I kinda based it on what it’s like for me and one of my “siblings” because the dynamic just works so well for them :joy:

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It’s fun to write from other perspectives. One of the main purposes of reading is to journey outside oneself; it makes sense that would carry over to the writer, as well.

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Depends on the sibling. I have three and have very different relationships and dynamics with them because of a range of things, mostly to do with personality, upbringing, and general age-difference. Also, parentage. Two of my siblings are half.

Overall, sibling dynamics are complicated but fun. One thing, though, I think a lot of them share is a keen awareness of your growing up experience. At least, on some level and generally speaking ofc, large age-gapped siblings can and do have vastly different perspectives. They get the inside jokes about a particular parent, usually they have an artillery unit of embarrassing things you’ve done in the past to ring out later, they generally have an awareness over all your likes/dislikes, know exactly your worst and best self, and are at least vaguely accustomed to your particular brand of lunacy.

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I have siblings and I tend to write books with siblings. :rofl: I have yet to write a story about an only child. The closest was my previous novel where my MC had a brother, but he’s only ever mentioned—he never appeared physically in the book.

I am actually curious though, and sometimes wish I was an only child. :sweat_smile: My mom is an only child and the only things she really mentioned was how lonely it was unless she hung out with her cousins (who were close to her at the time). But I have four siblings (and a few others I’ve never met—a brother who died before I was born and a half-brother who probably doesn’t know I exist, from my dad’s first marriage). But besides my siblings and parents, I don’t know anyone else outside of that to actually consider as close relatives.

With my mom being an only child, I don’t have any aunts or uncles or cousins from said people. She had all of that (my second, third, etc. relatives) but I’ve never met any of them, or if I did, it was when I was very young. And even then, most are dead by now.

And my dad was adopted, so we know nothing of his biological side. But from his adoptive side, he has a sister and I’ve only met her once. And I have cousins through her (her kids). Again, only ever met once.

So I’m boggled to even know of people, whether they’re an only child or not, who have other relatives who are close to them. I’ve met people who consider their cousins, their siblings just because of how close they are. Like all I have are just my actual siblings. Lol

And like… how quiet is it? What do you do with your days? Is fighting and drama minimal, like to a point where it’s peaceful? :sweat_smile:

It is quite interesting lol. Even as someone with a large age-gap with one of my siblings, when I hear someone who has a 20-30 year age gap… like WHAT? :exploding_head:

My little sister is roughly ten years younger than me, and she’s fifteen years younger than my oldest sister (sort of first born). If my brother was alive, she’d be eighteen years younger than him. There’s a few year age gap between me and my older siblings. The actual ages between all of us:

Cas: 31 years old (just passed her birthday).
Rach: 29 years old (turns 30 in November).
Bud: 27 years old (turns 28 in May).
Me: 25 years old (turns 26 in March).
Mel: 16 years old (turns 17 in August).

My deceased brother would be turning 35 in August, and I don’t know the birthday or age of my half-brother, but I know he’s in his late 30s.

But like, I’ve known people who’ve said they’re like a teenager and their sibling is in their 40s. Like how old were your parents when they’ve had y’all? :rofl: Truthfully, my little sister hates the fact that our parents are old (dad turns 60 in September… oof. And mom turns 55 next month) because they could die and not see her throughout half her adult life. :confused:

I like writing sibling dynamics that reflect real life siblings (AKA, using my experiences as inspiration) but with a healthy relationship between them where they’re actually close. In a previous story of mine, the focus was about these three sisters: Jane (26 years old, the oldest); Iris (24 years old, the middle child); and Kelly (21 years old, the youngest). I took inspiration of their dynamic based off my sisters and myself but with completely different stories and whatnot. Truthfully, Jane is a small reflection of my oldest sister where she’s very sarcastic and judgmental at times. In real life, my sister can be rude, make fun of me, and other things, but we’re actually very close. Kelly, on the other hand, is a reflection of my little sister—very bubbly, outgoing, and tries to be the peacemaker… even if we fight.

I think I write more healthy relationships between siblings just to show people they need to be nicer to their siblings. It surprises me that these days, there’s barely a sibling dynamic that is healthy and close. Every single one of my little sister’s friends who has siblings all hate each other for some reason. They all fight, can’t get along, and don’t want to be near each other. And they all envy us because we’re actually great with each other. There’s times when we pull her out of school just to go to the movies or to get ice cream. I’ll take her to our local cafe in the mornings, or spoil her with gifts and treats. We hang out and watch movies or play games or do something with each other. Like, why aren’t there siblings who actually like each other?

Now, yes, sometimes siblings aren’t the greatest. I’ve cut my brother out of my life (for the most part) due to his toxicity. We were once close… as children. Growing up, my two older sisters were close with each other and not me. I was close with my brother until he went to middle school (became a teen) and after that, his whole demeanor changed. He became angry and abusive and acted like he didn’t care about anyone but himself. We stopped hanging out, and I tried to stay away from him until he moved out. I’m not the only one who cut ties either.

But this isn’t an every sibling situation thing.

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I write both, characters with siblings and without. I think my sibling portrayal is always positive (so far). They might bicker, push each other’s buttons, but they’re always close because they’ve lived with the same crap, you know what I mean? They get each other when no one else understands them.

I think I’ve always written just two. I can’t think of a story where I wrote more than that. Hmmm. Something to consider in the future though it will feel chaotic to have to maintain that many relationships.

I might consider more siblings for Seri. He hasn’t met his family and I haven’t met his siblings yet either so we’ll see what they’re like when we get there (I know his parents well, wrote a whole separate book about how they met).
Oh, Ruby has brothers too though and his father is 315 years old so he’ll have fathered many. lol. Ruby won’t have a “starting” relationship with them though and he’ll be the baby among them whereas Seri will be the big brother to his siblings. Lots to consider how those dynamics will work. That’s just one of the fun things I’ll have to work on for that book.

In real life, I’m the youngest of 3. I have two older brothers. Growing up, I mostly interacted with the middle brother who’s 3 years older than me. The eldest is 7 years older so he was a teenager when I was a kid. I barely entered teenage years when he had a daughter of his own.
Being the only girl and being the youngest certainly has impacted what type of person I am.

In my current project, I can’t help but to draw parallels between Samantha’s brother and my eldest brother. They’re not the same person but they have enough in common that I gave him my brother’s quirk: loudly sucking in air between his teeth from the side of his mouth.

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That’s actually kind of amazing :stuck_out_tongue: I don’t believe in reincarnation, but maybe you were siblings in another life? :wink:

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Love this phrasing! I need to have more character siblings that show this.

That would honestly explain so much :rofl:

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