Children Should be Seen, Not Heard!

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Pat here:

    I finished the first draft, let’s here a bit shout out—HURRAYYYY!!!!!

Deep breath, exhale, stretch and wiggle, and now I can look around and see what the rest of the world is up to.

One glance at the newspaper’s front page (history in the making!) and then I’m going to fish around in our question stack.  Cheryl Castings has given us a tasty selection, and I really like that one about books where the hero and heroine exchange insults, but it requires work, and I’m taking a quick sabbatical before testing my brain again.  So, since the book I’ve just drafted includes a multitude of children, I’m starting with this question from Cheryl:  Another topic could be favorite books that feature children.  We could include discussion of the lifestyles of children during a particular time period.  Cheryl, I owe you a book of your choice.  Check out www.patriciarice.com and take your pick, although stand forewarned, most of the really old books were stolen and my only copies come from used bookstores.

My premise today is one I’ve stated in the past, just reworded—children will always be children. Regency children
Human nature is what it is, and civilization can only check it so much.  We can put the boys in dresses until they’re six and put corsets on tiny little girls, and they’re still going to romp and get dirty and kick each other if given an opportunity. If they’re a farmer or working man’s children without nannies and maids to hover around them, they may be more apt to run fields, milk cows, and wash in cold creeks than the coddled tykes of the manor house.  The coddled tykes—if given proper instruction—will be able to bow and curtsy as soon as they walk.  They’ll be taught how to use an array of silverware, speak politely when Gainsborough
spoken to, and might learn Latin at a ridiculously early age. And they’re still going to race for the muddy pond and pick their noses if left off their leashes.

For some wonderful artwork featuring children in the Georgian/Regency era: http://tinyurl.com/558dfl

For some nice tidbits of information on Regency children, try Janet Mullany’s blog from Risky Regencies: http://riskyregencies.blogspot.com/2008/02/regency-children.html

Or this excellent piece of history with links to toys and games and other fun bits:
http://www.zimbio.com/Regency+novels/articles/5/Two+Worlds+Children+During+Regency+Period
a page on games: http://tinyurl.com/6g8ecb

Since I’ve been writing in the Georgian and Regency eras, that’s been my interest for some years now.  I’m sure children in medieval Europe or western United States in the late 1800s had their own style of dress and games.  But to me, it’s always the characters that hold my interest, not the clothes they’re dressed in.  In the book I just completed, I tried to emphasize that the oldest boy felt Children playing
responsible for the younger ones, and the oldest girl did her best to take care of the toddlers.  And the child brought up without a nanny was a wild hooligan who imitates the crude elders around her but settles down when given the love and attention she needs so badly.  They could be children of any era.

But I write romance, so my main characters will always be the hero and heroine.  The children walk on as needed for plot, and their characters have to hit the page in a few brief words so their actions and those of the adults around them are understood by the reader. I understand the nurturing readers among us want to see more of the little darlings, and the historians want to see an accurate picture of children's lives, and those who read romance for the sex probably don’t want to be reminded of the result. ;)  I often wish I could write a book three different ways to satisfy all my facets as well as that of readers.  Unfortunately, life’s too short!  

So where do you fall on the spectrum?  Does a book with children rampaging through it turn you off?  Do you want to see more of the detail of their lives?  And if so, what details would interest you?  Keeping in mind that this book is still in draft form….  It may be possible to add some tidbits mentioned here.  And if I do (and my lamentable memory keeps this in mind through various stages of editing and revising and outright chopping), I’ll add an acknowledgment to any reader who contributes a tidbit I can use!

(I already owe our whipmistress Sherrie an acknowledgment for her LOL epithets on my personal blog. Check out http://patriciarice.blogspot.com/ under "epithets/epitaphs." Sherrie's list is hilarious!)

70 thoughts on “Children Should be Seen, Not Heard!”

  1. Kids have been pretty pivotal in what I’ve written so far, but the current WIP has none, not even a dog! I like children in fiction as long as they’re not too all-knowing. As the mother of four and former teacher, I hope I have an ear for what’s realistic and what’s not.

    Reply
  2. Kids have been pretty pivotal in what I’ve written so far, but the current WIP has none, not even a dog! I like children in fiction as long as they’re not too all-knowing. As the mother of four and former teacher, I hope I have an ear for what’s realistic and what’s not.

    Reply
  3. Kids have been pretty pivotal in what I’ve written so far, but the current WIP has none, not even a dog! I like children in fiction as long as they’re not too all-knowing. As the mother of four and former teacher, I hope I have an ear for what’s realistic and what’s not.

    Reply
  4. Kids have been pretty pivotal in what I’ve written so far, but the current WIP has none, not even a dog! I like children in fiction as long as they’re not too all-knowing. As the mother of four and former teacher, I hope I have an ear for what’s realistic and what’s not.

    Reply
  5. Kids have been pretty pivotal in what I’ve written so far, but the current WIP has none, not even a dog! I like children in fiction as long as they’re not too all-knowing. As the mother of four and former teacher, I hope I have an ear for what’s realistic and what’s not.

    Reply
  6. I love kids in books if they are written as human children and not idealized angels or cutesy-cutsey widdle dawings… I love the way Loretta wrote Olivia in Lord Perfect. I think I have taught a few Olivias… My favorite Regency child painting is “Lady Caroline Scott as Winter”by Sir Joshua Reynolds. I have a student who looks exactly like the little girl in the picture!

    Reply
  7. I love kids in books if they are written as human children and not idealized angels or cutesy-cutsey widdle dawings… I love the way Loretta wrote Olivia in Lord Perfect. I think I have taught a few Olivias… My favorite Regency child painting is “Lady Caroline Scott as Winter”by Sir Joshua Reynolds. I have a student who looks exactly like the little girl in the picture!

    Reply
  8. I love kids in books if they are written as human children and not idealized angels or cutesy-cutsey widdle dawings… I love the way Loretta wrote Olivia in Lord Perfect. I think I have taught a few Olivias… My favorite Regency child painting is “Lady Caroline Scott as Winter”by Sir Joshua Reynolds. I have a student who looks exactly like the little girl in the picture!

    Reply
  9. I love kids in books if they are written as human children and not idealized angels or cutesy-cutsey widdle dawings… I love the way Loretta wrote Olivia in Lord Perfect. I think I have taught a few Olivias… My favorite Regency child painting is “Lady Caroline Scott as Winter”by Sir Joshua Reynolds. I have a student who looks exactly like the little girl in the picture!

    Reply
  10. I love kids in books if they are written as human children and not idealized angels or cutesy-cutsey widdle dawings… I love the way Loretta wrote Olivia in Lord Perfect. I think I have taught a few Olivias… My favorite Regency child painting is “Lady Caroline Scott as Winter”by Sir Joshua Reynolds. I have a student who looks exactly like the little girl in the picture!

    Reply
  11. I’ll come down on the other side. I don’t care for children in my romances. As far as I’m concerned, the children come after the “And they lived happily ever after. THE END”
    I prefer courtship stories, which necessarily involve the hero and heroine, and ones without children. Especially since I like some mystery or danger involved, and such elements don’t do well with kids.

    Reply
  12. I’ll come down on the other side. I don’t care for children in my romances. As far as I’m concerned, the children come after the “And they lived happily ever after. THE END”
    I prefer courtship stories, which necessarily involve the hero and heroine, and ones without children. Especially since I like some mystery or danger involved, and such elements don’t do well with kids.

    Reply
  13. I’ll come down on the other side. I don’t care for children in my romances. As far as I’m concerned, the children come after the “And they lived happily ever after. THE END”
    I prefer courtship stories, which necessarily involve the hero and heroine, and ones without children. Especially since I like some mystery or danger involved, and such elements don’t do well with kids.

    Reply
  14. I’ll come down on the other side. I don’t care for children in my romances. As far as I’m concerned, the children come after the “And they lived happily ever after. THE END”
    I prefer courtship stories, which necessarily involve the hero and heroine, and ones without children. Especially since I like some mystery or danger involved, and such elements don’t do well with kids.

    Reply
  15. I’ll come down on the other side. I don’t care for children in my romances. As far as I’m concerned, the children come after the “And they lived happily ever after. THE END”
    I prefer courtship stories, which necessarily involve the hero and heroine, and ones without children. Especially since I like some mystery or danger involved, and such elements don’t do well with kids.

    Reply
  16. I like children in books if they are written as real children and not as a 3 year old who has the mind and language ability of a nine year old. I just finished a book in which the boy was playing in the mud with a dog, it was really well written and reminded me totally of what a child would actually do.

    Reply
  17. I like children in books if they are written as real children and not as a 3 year old who has the mind and language ability of a nine year old. I just finished a book in which the boy was playing in the mud with a dog, it was really well written and reminded me totally of what a child would actually do.

    Reply
  18. I like children in books if they are written as real children and not as a 3 year old who has the mind and language ability of a nine year old. I just finished a book in which the boy was playing in the mud with a dog, it was really well written and reminded me totally of what a child would actually do.

    Reply
  19. I like children in books if they are written as real children and not as a 3 year old who has the mind and language ability of a nine year old. I just finished a book in which the boy was playing in the mud with a dog, it was really well written and reminded me totally of what a child would actually do.

    Reply
  20. I like children in books if they are written as real children and not as a 3 year old who has the mind and language ability of a nine year old. I just finished a book in which the boy was playing in the mud with a dog, it was really well written and reminded me totally of what a child would actually do.

    Reply
  21. LOL on the Dutch! Definitely not romantic.
    I’m in total agreement on Loretta’s kids. My memory doesn’t hold titles in my head long enough to recall other books with children in them, but I don’t think I’ve read too many recently where they’re all charming little darlings. I could be wrong.
    Linda, I think I’ve managed to provide both the courtship and the bit of danger and still do kids since they’re the heroine’s very young siblings and the hero’s foul-mouthed by-blow and are out of the picture most of the time. I use them as other authors might use purloined documents–as objects to be acquired. But living ones with personalities. Far more interesting than stolen documents, IMO.
    Maggie, your books ought to be a delight since you’ve got the background to make kids real!

    Reply
  22. LOL on the Dutch! Definitely not romantic.
    I’m in total agreement on Loretta’s kids. My memory doesn’t hold titles in my head long enough to recall other books with children in them, but I don’t think I’ve read too many recently where they’re all charming little darlings. I could be wrong.
    Linda, I think I’ve managed to provide both the courtship and the bit of danger and still do kids since they’re the heroine’s very young siblings and the hero’s foul-mouthed by-blow and are out of the picture most of the time. I use them as other authors might use purloined documents–as objects to be acquired. But living ones with personalities. Far more interesting than stolen documents, IMO.
    Maggie, your books ought to be a delight since you’ve got the background to make kids real!

    Reply
  23. LOL on the Dutch! Definitely not romantic.
    I’m in total agreement on Loretta’s kids. My memory doesn’t hold titles in my head long enough to recall other books with children in them, but I don’t think I’ve read too many recently where they’re all charming little darlings. I could be wrong.
    Linda, I think I’ve managed to provide both the courtship and the bit of danger and still do kids since they’re the heroine’s very young siblings and the hero’s foul-mouthed by-blow and are out of the picture most of the time. I use them as other authors might use purloined documents–as objects to be acquired. But living ones with personalities. Far more interesting than stolen documents, IMO.
    Maggie, your books ought to be a delight since you’ve got the background to make kids real!

    Reply
  24. LOL on the Dutch! Definitely not romantic.
    I’m in total agreement on Loretta’s kids. My memory doesn’t hold titles in my head long enough to recall other books with children in them, but I don’t think I’ve read too many recently where they’re all charming little darlings. I could be wrong.
    Linda, I think I’ve managed to provide both the courtship and the bit of danger and still do kids since they’re the heroine’s very young siblings and the hero’s foul-mouthed by-blow and are out of the picture most of the time. I use them as other authors might use purloined documents–as objects to be acquired. But living ones with personalities. Far more interesting than stolen documents, IMO.
    Maggie, your books ought to be a delight since you’ve got the background to make kids real!

    Reply
  25. LOL on the Dutch! Definitely not romantic.
    I’m in total agreement on Loretta’s kids. My memory doesn’t hold titles in my head long enough to recall other books with children in them, but I don’t think I’ve read too many recently where they’re all charming little darlings. I could be wrong.
    Linda, I think I’ve managed to provide both the courtship and the bit of danger and still do kids since they’re the heroine’s very young siblings and the hero’s foul-mouthed by-blow and are out of the picture most of the time. I use them as other authors might use purloined documents–as objects to be acquired. But living ones with personalities. Far more interesting than stolen documents, IMO.
    Maggie, your books ought to be a delight since you’ve got the background to make kids real!

    Reply
  26. I much prefer pets to children in my books. 🙂 Nonetheless, I’ve occasionally put kids in my own stories when in made sense. I tend to make them pre-pubescent–old enough to be articulate, but not yet surly and hormonal. I figure if the child is about ten, I have a better chance of faking it in a believable manner. 🙂
    mjp

    Reply
  27. I much prefer pets to children in my books. 🙂 Nonetheless, I’ve occasionally put kids in my own stories when in made sense. I tend to make them pre-pubescent–old enough to be articulate, but not yet surly and hormonal. I figure if the child is about ten, I have a better chance of faking it in a believable manner. 🙂
    mjp

    Reply
  28. I much prefer pets to children in my books. 🙂 Nonetheless, I’ve occasionally put kids in my own stories when in made sense. I tend to make them pre-pubescent–old enough to be articulate, but not yet surly and hormonal. I figure if the child is about ten, I have a better chance of faking it in a believable manner. 🙂
    mjp

    Reply
  29. I much prefer pets to children in my books. 🙂 Nonetheless, I’ve occasionally put kids in my own stories when in made sense. I tend to make them pre-pubescent–old enough to be articulate, but not yet surly and hormonal. I figure if the child is about ten, I have a better chance of faking it in a believable manner. 🙂
    mjp

    Reply
  30. I much prefer pets to children in my books. 🙂 Nonetheless, I’ve occasionally put kids in my own stories when in made sense. I tend to make them pre-pubescent–old enough to be articulate, but not yet surly and hormonal. I figure if the child is about ten, I have a better chance of faking it in a believable manner. 🙂
    mjp

    Reply
  31. I certainly agree that the physical, emotional, and neurological development of humans probably hasn’t changed much in the last 5,000 years or (probably) much longer. However, Philippe Aries book, “Centuries of Childhood”, pointed out that until the late 16th or 17th C, childhood wasn’t recognized as a separate stage of life — certainly not past the age of 7 or so. So Medieval romances should contain a different view of childhood than Victorian ones to be historically accurate. However, no matter what the time period, specific 3 year olds will still play in the mud and 7 year olds will want to trail after their 10 year old siblings, and 17 year olds will still be impulsive because they don’t have all the brain connections required to consider all the long-term implications of their actions.
    I’ve nothing against having children in a book, but with few exceptions I dislike it intensely when they manipulate the romance.

    Reply
  32. I certainly agree that the physical, emotional, and neurological development of humans probably hasn’t changed much in the last 5,000 years or (probably) much longer. However, Philippe Aries book, “Centuries of Childhood”, pointed out that until the late 16th or 17th C, childhood wasn’t recognized as a separate stage of life — certainly not past the age of 7 or so. So Medieval romances should contain a different view of childhood than Victorian ones to be historically accurate. However, no matter what the time period, specific 3 year olds will still play in the mud and 7 year olds will want to trail after their 10 year old siblings, and 17 year olds will still be impulsive because they don’t have all the brain connections required to consider all the long-term implications of their actions.
    I’ve nothing against having children in a book, but with few exceptions I dislike it intensely when they manipulate the romance.

    Reply
  33. I certainly agree that the physical, emotional, and neurological development of humans probably hasn’t changed much in the last 5,000 years or (probably) much longer. However, Philippe Aries book, “Centuries of Childhood”, pointed out that until the late 16th or 17th C, childhood wasn’t recognized as a separate stage of life — certainly not past the age of 7 or so. So Medieval romances should contain a different view of childhood than Victorian ones to be historically accurate. However, no matter what the time period, specific 3 year olds will still play in the mud and 7 year olds will want to trail after their 10 year old siblings, and 17 year olds will still be impulsive because they don’t have all the brain connections required to consider all the long-term implications of their actions.
    I’ve nothing against having children in a book, but with few exceptions I dislike it intensely when they manipulate the romance.

    Reply
  34. I certainly agree that the physical, emotional, and neurological development of humans probably hasn’t changed much in the last 5,000 years or (probably) much longer. However, Philippe Aries book, “Centuries of Childhood”, pointed out that until the late 16th or 17th C, childhood wasn’t recognized as a separate stage of life — certainly not past the age of 7 or so. So Medieval romances should contain a different view of childhood than Victorian ones to be historically accurate. However, no matter what the time period, specific 3 year olds will still play in the mud and 7 year olds will want to trail after their 10 year old siblings, and 17 year olds will still be impulsive because they don’t have all the brain connections required to consider all the long-term implications of their actions.
    I’ve nothing against having children in a book, but with few exceptions I dislike it intensely when they manipulate the romance.

    Reply
  35. I certainly agree that the physical, emotional, and neurological development of humans probably hasn’t changed much in the last 5,000 years or (probably) much longer. However, Philippe Aries book, “Centuries of Childhood”, pointed out that until the late 16th or 17th C, childhood wasn’t recognized as a separate stage of life — certainly not past the age of 7 or so. So Medieval romances should contain a different view of childhood than Victorian ones to be historically accurate. However, no matter what the time period, specific 3 year olds will still play in the mud and 7 year olds will want to trail after their 10 year old siblings, and 17 year olds will still be impulsive because they don’t have all the brain connections required to consider all the long-term implications of their actions.
    I’ve nothing against having children in a book, but with few exceptions I dislike it intensely when they manipulate the romance.

    Reply
  36. You’re right, Susan. General attitudes toward children will always change with society, but again, I think we have a certain leeway based on the characters of our protagonists. And I could envision a medieval hero cursing a 7 year old for not behaving as an adult and the heroine swatting him over the head for it. “G”
    Agreed, MJ, prepubescent is far more fun, especially in a lighter book, but those surly teens can really add angst to a contemp!

    Reply
  37. You’re right, Susan. General attitudes toward children will always change with society, but again, I think we have a certain leeway based on the characters of our protagonists. And I could envision a medieval hero cursing a 7 year old for not behaving as an adult and the heroine swatting him over the head for it. “G”
    Agreed, MJ, prepubescent is far more fun, especially in a lighter book, but those surly teens can really add angst to a contemp!

    Reply
  38. You’re right, Susan. General attitudes toward children will always change with society, but again, I think we have a certain leeway based on the characters of our protagonists. And I could envision a medieval hero cursing a 7 year old for not behaving as an adult and the heroine swatting him over the head for it. “G”
    Agreed, MJ, prepubescent is far more fun, especially in a lighter book, but those surly teens can really add angst to a contemp!

    Reply
  39. You’re right, Susan. General attitudes toward children will always change with society, but again, I think we have a certain leeway based on the characters of our protagonists. And I could envision a medieval hero cursing a 7 year old for not behaving as an adult and the heroine swatting him over the head for it. “G”
    Agreed, MJ, prepubescent is far more fun, especially in a lighter book, but those surly teens can really add angst to a contemp!

    Reply
  40. You’re right, Susan. General attitudes toward children will always change with society, but again, I think we have a certain leeway based on the characters of our protagonists. And I could envision a medieval hero cursing a 7 year old for not behaving as an adult and the heroine swatting him over the head for it. “G”
    Agreed, MJ, prepubescent is far more fun, especially in a lighter book, but those surly teens can really add angst to a contemp!

    Reply
  41. I like children in books, but I can’t stand it when they’re lisping, preternaturally aware, deus ex machina.
    Children are simply a part of life. To have a world devoid of them (esp in a historical, where pretty much everyone had them) just seems strange. I feel the same way about pets. And parents. And siblings. Real people have family and connections to the world, so should my characters (and if they don’t, that should be a major issue in the plot!).

    Reply
  42. I like children in books, but I can’t stand it when they’re lisping, preternaturally aware, deus ex machina.
    Children are simply a part of life. To have a world devoid of them (esp in a historical, where pretty much everyone had them) just seems strange. I feel the same way about pets. And parents. And siblings. Real people have family and connections to the world, so should my characters (and if they don’t, that should be a major issue in the plot!).

    Reply
  43. I like children in books, but I can’t stand it when they’re lisping, preternaturally aware, deus ex machina.
    Children are simply a part of life. To have a world devoid of them (esp in a historical, where pretty much everyone had them) just seems strange. I feel the same way about pets. And parents. And siblings. Real people have family and connections to the world, so should my characters (and if they don’t, that should be a major issue in the plot!).

    Reply
  44. I like children in books, but I can’t stand it when they’re lisping, preternaturally aware, deus ex machina.
    Children are simply a part of life. To have a world devoid of them (esp in a historical, where pretty much everyone had them) just seems strange. I feel the same way about pets. And parents. And siblings. Real people have family and connections to the world, so should my characters (and if they don’t, that should be a major issue in the plot!).

    Reply
  45. I like children in books, but I can’t stand it when they’re lisping, preternaturally aware, deus ex machina.
    Children are simply a part of life. To have a world devoid of them (esp in a historical, where pretty much everyone had them) just seems strange. I feel the same way about pets. And parents. And siblings. Real people have family and connections to the world, so should my characters (and if they don’t, that should be a major issue in the plot!).

    Reply
  46. Excellent point, Kalen, which leads to another issue–all those missing parents of the protagonists. “G” I’m utterly guilty of wiping out hordes of parental figures so my characters are free to act without consideration of family. I understand people often died young, but romance is guilty of killing off almost everyone over fifty, I believe!

    Reply
  47. Excellent point, Kalen, which leads to another issue–all those missing parents of the protagonists. “G” I’m utterly guilty of wiping out hordes of parental figures so my characters are free to act without consideration of family. I understand people often died young, but romance is guilty of killing off almost everyone over fifty, I believe!

    Reply
  48. Excellent point, Kalen, which leads to another issue–all those missing parents of the protagonists. “G” I’m utterly guilty of wiping out hordes of parental figures so my characters are free to act without consideration of family. I understand people often died young, but romance is guilty of killing off almost everyone over fifty, I believe!

    Reply
  49. Excellent point, Kalen, which leads to another issue–all those missing parents of the protagonists. “G” I’m utterly guilty of wiping out hordes of parental figures so my characters are free to act without consideration of family. I understand people often died young, but romance is guilty of killing off almost everyone over fifty, I believe!

    Reply
  50. Excellent point, Kalen, which leads to another issue–all those missing parents of the protagonists. “G” I’m utterly guilty of wiping out hordes of parental figures so my characters are free to act without consideration of family. I understand people often died young, but romance is guilty of killing off almost everyone over fifty, I believe!

    Reply
  51. “I understand people often died young, but romance is guilty of killing off almost everyone over fifty, I believe!”
    Now that I’m writing alternative history with real people among the main characters, I miss having the power to do this! Though my problem isn’t so much elderly parents as hordes of siblings. None of this decorous heir, spare, and a daughter or two business you can have in fictional families! And since my protagonist and antagonist aren’t about to forget the existence of their brothers and sisters, I have to find logical reasons to shove the ones who aren’t useful to my plot into deep background. (Pesky real people 200+ years ago, refusing to order their reproduction to make a tidy narrative for a 21st-century writer!)

    Reply
  52. “I understand people often died young, but romance is guilty of killing off almost everyone over fifty, I believe!”
    Now that I’m writing alternative history with real people among the main characters, I miss having the power to do this! Though my problem isn’t so much elderly parents as hordes of siblings. None of this decorous heir, spare, and a daughter or two business you can have in fictional families! And since my protagonist and antagonist aren’t about to forget the existence of their brothers and sisters, I have to find logical reasons to shove the ones who aren’t useful to my plot into deep background. (Pesky real people 200+ years ago, refusing to order their reproduction to make a tidy narrative for a 21st-century writer!)

    Reply
  53. “I understand people often died young, but romance is guilty of killing off almost everyone over fifty, I believe!”
    Now that I’m writing alternative history with real people among the main characters, I miss having the power to do this! Though my problem isn’t so much elderly parents as hordes of siblings. None of this decorous heir, spare, and a daughter or two business you can have in fictional families! And since my protagonist and antagonist aren’t about to forget the existence of their brothers and sisters, I have to find logical reasons to shove the ones who aren’t useful to my plot into deep background. (Pesky real people 200+ years ago, refusing to order their reproduction to make a tidy narrative for a 21st-century writer!)

    Reply
  54. “I understand people often died young, but romance is guilty of killing off almost everyone over fifty, I believe!”
    Now that I’m writing alternative history with real people among the main characters, I miss having the power to do this! Though my problem isn’t so much elderly parents as hordes of siblings. None of this decorous heir, spare, and a daughter or two business you can have in fictional families! And since my protagonist and antagonist aren’t about to forget the existence of their brothers and sisters, I have to find logical reasons to shove the ones who aren’t useful to my plot into deep background. (Pesky real people 200+ years ago, refusing to order their reproduction to make a tidy narrative for a 21st-century writer!)

    Reply
  55. “I understand people often died young, but romance is guilty of killing off almost everyone over fifty, I believe!”
    Now that I’m writing alternative history with real people among the main characters, I miss having the power to do this! Though my problem isn’t so much elderly parents as hordes of siblings. None of this decorous heir, spare, and a daughter or two business you can have in fictional families! And since my protagonist and antagonist aren’t about to forget the existence of their brothers and sisters, I have to find logical reasons to shove the ones who aren’t useful to my plot into deep background. (Pesky real people 200+ years ago, refusing to order their reproduction to make a tidy narrative for a 21st-century writer!)

    Reply
  56. LOL, Susan, my sympathies! Although some families were so downright cold I doubt they spoke to each other from one year to the next. Try some of them on for size!
    And I just glanced at my first paragraph and think the typo gremlins must have struck while I wasn’t watching! Or must get glasses fixed…

    Reply
  57. LOL, Susan, my sympathies! Although some families were so downright cold I doubt they spoke to each other from one year to the next. Try some of them on for size!
    And I just glanced at my first paragraph and think the typo gremlins must have struck while I wasn’t watching! Or must get glasses fixed…

    Reply
  58. LOL, Susan, my sympathies! Although some families were so downright cold I doubt they spoke to each other from one year to the next. Try some of them on for size!
    And I just glanced at my first paragraph and think the typo gremlins must have struck while I wasn’t watching! Or must get glasses fixed…

    Reply
  59. LOL, Susan, my sympathies! Although some families were so downright cold I doubt they spoke to each other from one year to the next. Try some of them on for size!
    And I just glanced at my first paragraph and think the typo gremlins must have struck while I wasn’t watching! Or must get glasses fixed…

    Reply
  60. LOL, Susan, my sympathies! Although some families were so downright cold I doubt they spoke to each other from one year to the next. Try some of them on for size!
    And I just glanced at my first paragraph and think the typo gremlins must have struck while I wasn’t watching! Or must get glasses fixed…

    Reply
  61. Loved the blog and the gorgeous pictures, Pat. Thanks. And congratulations on getting that first draft done.
    I’ve heard it said that one of the most dangerous occupations in the world is to be a parent of a main character in a novel. I have to hold my hand up and plead guilty to creating a lot of orphans, too. But in fiction, orphans are more interesting, as they *have* to interact with the world, whereas if they had parents, the parents would protect them and interact on their behalf…
    I like children in books to be children, and not be center stage all the time. I also cringe when I see children in historicals speak to adults in a way I know they’d never be allowed to do, even 50 years ago. When I was a kid at my grandmother’s, I was to speak only when spoken to, and otherwise it was hand around the cakes and run and fetch things for adults. Or play outside or sit quietly with a book. Luckily I was quite good at both of those.

    Reply
  62. Loved the blog and the gorgeous pictures, Pat. Thanks. And congratulations on getting that first draft done.
    I’ve heard it said that one of the most dangerous occupations in the world is to be a parent of a main character in a novel. I have to hold my hand up and plead guilty to creating a lot of orphans, too. But in fiction, orphans are more interesting, as they *have* to interact with the world, whereas if they had parents, the parents would protect them and interact on their behalf…
    I like children in books to be children, and not be center stage all the time. I also cringe when I see children in historicals speak to adults in a way I know they’d never be allowed to do, even 50 years ago. When I was a kid at my grandmother’s, I was to speak only when spoken to, and otherwise it was hand around the cakes and run and fetch things for adults. Or play outside or sit quietly with a book. Luckily I was quite good at both of those.

    Reply
  63. Loved the blog and the gorgeous pictures, Pat. Thanks. And congratulations on getting that first draft done.
    I’ve heard it said that one of the most dangerous occupations in the world is to be a parent of a main character in a novel. I have to hold my hand up and plead guilty to creating a lot of orphans, too. But in fiction, orphans are more interesting, as they *have* to interact with the world, whereas if they had parents, the parents would protect them and interact on their behalf…
    I like children in books to be children, and not be center stage all the time. I also cringe when I see children in historicals speak to adults in a way I know they’d never be allowed to do, even 50 years ago. When I was a kid at my grandmother’s, I was to speak only when spoken to, and otherwise it was hand around the cakes and run and fetch things for adults. Or play outside or sit quietly with a book. Luckily I was quite good at both of those.

    Reply
  64. Loved the blog and the gorgeous pictures, Pat. Thanks. And congratulations on getting that first draft done.
    I’ve heard it said that one of the most dangerous occupations in the world is to be a parent of a main character in a novel. I have to hold my hand up and plead guilty to creating a lot of orphans, too. But in fiction, orphans are more interesting, as they *have* to interact with the world, whereas if they had parents, the parents would protect them and interact on their behalf…
    I like children in books to be children, and not be center stage all the time. I also cringe when I see children in historicals speak to adults in a way I know they’d never be allowed to do, even 50 years ago. When I was a kid at my grandmother’s, I was to speak only when spoken to, and otherwise it was hand around the cakes and run and fetch things for adults. Or play outside or sit quietly with a book. Luckily I was quite good at both of those.

    Reply
  65. Loved the blog and the gorgeous pictures, Pat. Thanks. And congratulations on getting that first draft done.
    I’ve heard it said that one of the most dangerous occupations in the world is to be a parent of a main character in a novel. I have to hold my hand up and plead guilty to creating a lot of orphans, too. But in fiction, orphans are more interesting, as they *have* to interact with the world, whereas if they had parents, the parents would protect them and interact on their behalf…
    I like children in books to be children, and not be center stage all the time. I also cringe when I see children in historicals speak to adults in a way I know they’d never be allowed to do, even 50 years ago. When I was a kid at my grandmother’s, I was to speak only when spoken to, and otherwise it was hand around the cakes and run and fetch things for adults. Or play outside or sit quietly with a book. Luckily I was quite good at both of those.

    Reply

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