Monday, July 13, 2009

The Sister Thing



"Sisters never quite forgive each other for what happened when they were five."
Pam Brown



I spent yesterday working on the new book, Under the Skin -- Elizabeth's sister Gloria has come for an indefinite visit and Elizabeth is, somewhat to her (and to my) surprise, becoming a tad bitchy.

Now I don't have a sister so I have no personal experience to draw on. But that doesn't stop me -- I've never (knowingly) encountered a murderer either but still I write about them.

Of course there are sisters who are best friends and always have been. But when one is writing a novel, high on the list of Must Have's is CONFLICT. Not just one big conflict but lots of little ones as well. So, Elizabeth and Gloria -- two very different people with very different world views are bound to clash.



Also, as I mentioned just a month ago, I'm writing Elizabeth in first person -- getting really up close and personal. In the past, sometimes I've thought that Elizabeth was just a little too good to be true -- so balanced, so kind, so good natured, so . . . rational.

Well, there's nothing like being around a younger, slimmer, richer sister, who also likes to tell you how you should live your life, to bring out the inner female dog in a protagonist.

I'm finding it interesting.
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12 comments:

Pat in east TN said...

This sounds REALLY interesting, for the writer and the reader!

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

I do have one sister,five years my senior. We have gone through cycles throughout our life,it was rough as I became a teen, then for years we were best friends,now we are good friends but live totally different lives. She screams at the sight of a bug! Won't walk across grass for fear of chiggers!
She could care less about books while I'm like the "Madame of a house" when it comes to books!
Hubby says he can't believe we came from the same parents! HA!

Vicki Lane said...

I really think it's going to work well, Pat. Herself is big on Growth and Development for main characters and there's a real opportunity for that here.

Carol, When I was growing up -- the teen years, I had lots of friends with sisters and almost without exception they could NOT get along. So I'm kind of riffing on that.

My brother's not fond of the country . . .or dogs in the house . . . but he does share my love of reading!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

I have one sister (no brothers) and we do indeed get under each other's skin after about three days. My husband says house guests and fish stink after three days and I guess it applies to my sister as well. I hope Nancy never sees what I said here or I'd simply die of embarrassment so y'all don't tell her, okay?

Your new novel sounds great and that last picture of the mountains looks just like a painting it's so beautiful.

I've been away on holiday for a couple of weeks without internet access. It's so nice to be back home with my friends. I missed everyone. Someone once said that traveling is a good excuse for overeating. I think I agree.
Sam

Liz said...

My sister lives in the city (and has for 30 years) - we are like the country mouse and the city mouse - I made her buy the proper shoes for hiking after she showed up at the cabin in snow boots in summer! She's is 7 years older than I am (she went to Woodstock!). She wears black and I wear anything from an outfitters store! But she always has my back and even when I move to WNC, I know I will still talk to her every day. P.S. I think I will enjoy Elizabeth being a bit bitchy! Also - Wish I could be there for the Auricular tomorrow!

Vicki Lane said...

Sam and Liz -- your comments make me feel I'm on the right track with this sister thing.

My lips are sealed, Sam. Nancy shall never hear it from me. Enjoyed your tearoom story on your post today!

You scared me for a minute there, Liz -- the Auricular thing is NEXT week, thank goodness. And that about your sister having your back -- that's what matters in the long run.

Merisi said...

It is a pity when I do not manage to come here as soon as you wrote a new post, but what indulgance being able to read more than one at once! :-)

I have put a note in my desk calendar, reminding me to ask the next visitor from the USA to bring me a book or two of yours. Is there any particul sequence beyond the publishing date that you would recommend to read them?

Regarding sisters, I had only one, eight years younger, and we always got along. Maybe it was the age difference, maybe it was because she was always my biggest fan, maybe it was because having six brothers taught us to better get along since we were outnumbered, but we never ever had a real fight. I am grateful for the time we spent together, way too short anyway because I left home when she was only 12 and I lost her at 38.

I love the sky in your bottom image, m'illuno d'immenso (I once translated this line into proper English - would you believe I have forgotten the clever words I found back when? An Italian writer - Giuseppe Ungaretti - wrote them, referring to the overwhelming feeling that overcame him during a sunrise by the sea).

Vicki Lane said...

Hello, Merisi! I visit your blog for refreshment, always enjoying the lovely photos of Vienna and its environs.

Re books -- It's a series -- the same main characters throughout and in chronological order-- so perhaps it makes the most sense to start at the beginning with SIGNS IN THE BLOOD followed by ART'S BLOOD. That said, I think the last two books are my best. I'm learning as I go! (All my books are available through Amazon -- including Austria's amazon.de)

Probably the big age difference in sisters does make for a better relationship in youth -- I'm sorry you lost your sister so young.

I love that bottom picture too! One can lose oneself in it, We are both fortunate to live in such beautiful places!

willow said...

Fascinating subject. There's a strange balance of love and conflict in a sister relationship. I know first hand.

Merisi introduced me to Giuseppe Ungaretti. I loved his work so much I had to buy a book of his poetry!

Vicki Lane said...

Hi, Willow -- Family relationships have so much potential for the writer -- especially a psychological suspense writer as myself. The strange balance you mention is ripe with possibilities . . .

And now I've done a little internet explore to learn about Ungaretti. What book do you have? Is it a translation or the original Italian? For poetry I would really like to have one of those side by side things -- translation and original!

Merisi said...

Thank you for answer regarding your books! Yes, amazon does deliver, but often the trade-version or whatever they call those big paperbacks. I don't like those.
It is fairly often that I get visitors, so that is not a problem. I have also a big heart for real-brick-and-mortar independent bookstores.

I should be ashamed for mangling poor Ungaretti's beautiful "m'illumino d'immenso" (correct version this time - illumino!)! ;-)

Vicki Lane said...

Hurrah for all who support independent bookstores! They are always my first choice. But alas, my books are only published in paperback -- Paperback Originals, they're called.

And that explains why I couldn't find illuno or anything similar in my Italian dictionary!

It's a beautiful phrase.