The Characters We Birth, The Children We Create

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
 ― Anne Frank

The first week of August was one of the proudest of my life. I traveled to Texas and watched my 19-year-old son graduate from the United States Air Force basic training. I smiled. I cried. I thought my heart would explode. I realized it was truly time to let go. Of all the “characters” I have “created,” my children are my favorite.

That’s the thing about kids and characters. We mold them, coddle them, let them trip so they learn. Then, before we know it, they take on a life of their own. You have to release your grip and let them naturally become more. More than your thoughts, hopes, and dreams. More than your imagination.

There are some distinct correlations between being a parent and being an author.

You Use Your Experiences:

It can happen on purpose or subconsciously but your personal experiences bleed into parenting and writing alike. I suffered abuse as a child and so I was even more vigilant in protecting my children and on the author side, I am familiar with the emotions I try to exude through them. You will try to prepare and protect them from what you have suffered. And then, you watch them rush headlong into the fire.

They Are Unpredictable:

You’ve molded them and influenced them until you were blue in the face. You could see the full projection of their lifespan. You had it all mapped out; the experiences, the responses, how they would learn and grow. And then all hell breaks loose. They display personality quirks you didn’t anticipate. They make decisions that go against everything you taught them. They become their own people. Independent of you and your desires for them.

All Of The Feels:

Oh, this one is the kicker. Right in the gut. You will laugh. You will cry. You will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment like no other. No matter how much you’ve dealt with in your own life, the emotions from those you have brought into creation are magnified. You will fear for their safety in a way you have never feared for your own.

You Have To Let Go:

You cannot keep your characters in a mold. You have to learn them grow naturally within the world you create. Their expressions, personality, and, their heart will change and allowing for that growth will allow for well-rounded characters. As it is with our children. We have to identify that key point where we let go and they take over. It didn’t actually strike me that my son was out of my household until the week after his basic training graduation when I called to remove him from my insurance. I wrote his background story. I guided him and molded him and now he has taken over this story we call life.

The similarities between rearing children and #writing characters. Click To Tweet

Do you struggle with character creation? OWS has some great articles here, here, and here!

Until next time, scribe happy and stay sassy!

Originally published at on August 25, 2016.