Having just celebrated my mother, I can’t help but to write about mothers in fiction. One of the most basic elements of life, and yet we often forget about the women who raised us. A mother is more than just the woman who gave birth to a child, but the woman who has nurtured and taught the child. Mothers are present in any woman who significantly influences an individual.
Mothers are present in fiction by playing characters in the story, mothering the writer, and by influencing the significance of the fiction. Most mothers read to their children, and simply being the ones who introduce their children to books makes them a powerful aspect of the industry. My mother instilled a love of reading in me, so I have to imagine it is the same for other writers and readers. Mothers are essential for growing your audience.
Mothers in the Story
Most middle grade or young adult novels seem to be void of any parents at all. Of course, only orphans are allowed to go on life-threatening adventures. No good parent would sign that permission slip. However, there are some instances in which parents may be helpful in a novel’s storyline. A mother, particularly, offers support and wisdom that most can’t, simply because mothers are allowed to be brutally honest.
Another aspect to consider is that we often adopt mother-figures in our lives, even when our mother is available. We just like having extra moms to take care of us. Characters are the same way, turning to someone to receive guidance, food, or a pat on the head. But at the same time, there is a mother-figure available to tell the character to clean up and get their act together.
Mothers in the Writing Process
Every writer, novice or professional, needs some cheerleaders. Writing is hard and we need someone once in a while to tell us that we’re brilliant. A mother is the first and best cheerleader anyone could have. She praised and encouraged you when you made stick figure drawings, there is no reason she won’t encourage your honest and practiced attempts at writing. All good mothers want their children to succeed. Sometimes this desire is expressed by some harsh advice, such as telling the preteen it’s time to take a shower. This will likely carry over into advice on how to best move forward in improving your writing.
Even my grandmother still gives advice to her children. Usually she is instructing everyone to take their cod liver oil every day. But her advice is always about encouraging a healthy lifestyle. Mothers have fed, cleaned up throw-up, taken to doctor visits, and taught good bed times for each of their children. There has never been a reason for them to stop. As writers, we sometimes let health take the back seat while we try to sculpt a writing career. But the highest productivity is directly related to healthy habits. Allow your mother’s advice and coaching to continue to apply to your lifestyle.
Mothers in our Lives
I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for the influence in my life of mothers. My biological mother, as well as the women who took on a temporary role as my mother for the moment. I owe the very fact that I am still writing to my mom. When I was young, my mother would supply me with notebooks, pens and pencils, and even made me a writing bag to keep all of my supplies. Even as a teenager, if my mother found me writing, she allowed me the quiet time to continue, knowing that I was doing something productive.
My mother has been one of the greatest inspirations in my life. Not only has she encouraged me on my dreams, but she has taught me diligence as she continues to work on her own dreams and goals. But even more than that, my mother has inspired numerous aspects of my writing. A number of characteristics found in characters probably reflect things I have seen or learned of my mother. But most of all, the intent of my writing has been greatly shaped by my mom. I want my writing to uplift, help and encourage others, because I have seen my mother do just that with her hobbies and talents.
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