Susan’s Inside Writing: Family


This week’s Sunday Scribblings prompt was one of those where I was immediately jazzed and then just as quickly, confusion set in. The theme is family, and it’s one I play with quite a bit in my fiction.

The problem, as is becoming a bit too common, is that I’ve got a ton of outtakes and other material on the blog already about this theme.

There’s the Brotherly Love Thursday Thirteen I did back in July of 2007.

There’s all the sibling torment that Mitchell and Amy heap on each other. Like the scene when Mitchell is showing Amy his new house. The torture of being a teenager and having a brother… or sister. The time Trevor set Amy up to torture both her and Mitchell…

Really. Sonya Voss puts up with a lot of hijinks in her home. She’s a saint.

And that’s part of it, I think. I don’t come from a terrible family, not by a longshot. And yet I still wish my family was more like the Vosses, who opened their home and took Trevor into it when the alternative was to let the kid hang. These people are close, they have a warm relationship with each other, they like being around each other. And they have fun together.

Now, that’s Mitchell’s family, the one Trevor takes over. (And you groupies who know Trevor even a little bit understand that fully.)

But there is another kind of family in my fictional world, too. The band.

Think about it for a second or two. You have a group of people — in the case of ShapeShifter, we have four guys — who come together. They share creativity, they share hours of practice and if they’re lucky, they get crappy dressing rooms, an overstuffed car with a trailer on the back of it for all their gear, and adventures out the wazoo. I figure this can either tear a group apart, like it recently did to real-life group Divine Heresy, or it can bring them together.

I have a dark side. It’s the part of me that makes my musical tastes run toward metal. But I like to dwell in a happy world (probably because that dark side’s power scares me), and so when it comes to families, I create happy ones.

Well, sort of. Trevor’s not the only one with an unhappy family roaming around my head. But you’ll have to stay tuned to learn more about them. And, frankly, I need the time to develop them more fully for you.

More from me later…



  1. Marcia (MeeAugraphie)

    May 3, 2008 9:21 am

    Interesting post, Susan. My family was/is fine, but we can find missing pieces of our dream if we look hard enough. I love that family is a recurrent thread here, because writing about characters without the good or bad of family is like half a story.

  2. paisley

    May 3, 2008 9:30 am

    i totally love these guys.. they are so my kinda people!!!!

  3. anthonynorth

    May 3, 2008 10:55 am

    Being in a band in my youth, it certainly felt like family. For a while we did everything together. It was great.

  4. bunnygirl

    May 3, 2008 12:39 pm

    Nice post! There’s nothing wrong with my family except that they’re a bad fit for my personality. I’ve always sought families of choice, which is why it’s a common theme in my own writing.BR/BR/I hope to see more family-related outtakes!

  5. Granny Smith

    May 3, 2008 1:44 pm

    You don’t confine your definition of family to traditional family. I like that.

  6. Robin

    May 3, 2008 3:57 pm

    I often say that I rebelled even more as a teenager precisely because I had nothing to really rebel against.

  7. Wylie Kinson

    May 3, 2008 5:34 pm

    Ah, the darkness that lurks beneath…BR/BR/I’m with Robin. I didn’t have much to rebel against, but it didn’t stop me 😉

  8. Julia Smith

    May 4, 2008 9:24 am

    A band is definitely a form of family because they exist in each other’s spaces for so long. I love reading about the ShapeShifter family and their satelite nuclear families. When it comes to musicians, it’s been my experience that it’s like taking holy orders. It’s music first, band second, originating family third. But that’s just the way it has to be – the music can’t make itself.

  9. gautami tripathy

    May 4, 2008 11:37 am

    I like this! Now I can have a whale of a time clicking the links!

  10. Susan Helene Gottfried

    May 4, 2008 11:42 am

    Have fun with those links, Gautami. That’s what they are there for!

  11. Jennifer Hicks

    May 4, 2008 12:53 pm

    Aren’t family dynamics incredibly fascinating. Good for you for exploring them through your writing. Keep at it!

  12. Bob-kat

    May 5, 2008 6:20 am

    I always figured Trevors family must be heavy on the dsyfuntional. I guess it’s harder to write about stuff like that in a way as writing about happy families mustb be much kinder on the emotions.BR/BR/I understand about the dark side that makes you lean towards metal too as I have mine. Playing music loud helps give a release sometimes (as Voss says in the post above) which is just as well sometimes!

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