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  • Writer's pictureNikki Lee Taylor

Dear Diary, how do I walk in someone else's shoes?

Diary Entry - 7 March 2020

I have what I think might be a good idea for this book, but it has two main characters and both are mothers, then I want to really look at what it means to be a mother and all the different ways women approach motherhood, the good, the bad, and the awful.

I know 100% I want to write it in the genre of Women's Fiction, the only problem is - I've never actually been a mother.

Why do I make everything so hard for myself! LOL 🤦‍♀️

How it panned out

I don't think I've ever taken the easy way out of anything and writing this book was no exception.

To write a well-thought out, engaging book, with plot twists that keep your readers glued to the page, there's a pretty decent chance you won't have walked in your character's shoes or experienced exactly what they are going through - especially if you write in the genres of paranormal or sci-fi... (I hope not anyway ? 👽)

For me, even though I never had any children, I have been someone's child and that for me was a huge part of being able to write these characters, and how they felt as mothers, in an authentic way.

I focused heavily on the relationship I have with my mum, and being an only child means I've fortunately had her full attention all my life, so I was able to draw on that for my character Sophie who would have lived and died for her son Josh.

I also reflected on the various mother/child relationships of my real life friends.

My group of friends include women who are happily married, women who are single mums, women who share custody of their children, and one, who, for her own reasons, decided to relinquish custody of their child to her ex.

Within that group almost everyone, including my own mum, has a different take on how to be the best parent they can and I found it interesting to wonder how each of them would react in the circumstances my characters were faced with.

Then there was the villain, who of course was not based on any of my friends (or was she? 😉 LOL ), and was really fun to write.

I think I probably imagined the worst parts of anyone, mixed with movie villains, to create her and it was a great experience to shed my own skin and be the evil version of someone... (envision me tying someone to the railway tracks and preening my mustache. Note to self: it might be time to Nair).

Last but not least, and you might find this silly, but... as a dog mum of two I do understand the need to love and protect another life. I know Max and Sam are not human children, but I love them with all my heart and it's no coincidence the main character Sophie has a four-legged best friend she describes as 'a dog the colour of butter and sunshine...'

Look familiar???


My two fur kids Max and Sam

So I guess the concerns I had starting out were met and overcome by drawing on the relationships around me, the love I have for my dogs, movies and books I've seen or read in the past, and a bit of good old fashioned imagination.

And again - if you're writing in the paranormal or sci-fi genres imagination might come into play a little more, that is unless you've been haunted, abducted, or welcomed into some kind of vampire werewolf love triangle #jealous, but that doesn't mean the characters shouldn't experience or represent real-life issues - that's what makes them relatable and in turn, will make your readers love, or hate, them.

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