So I'm writing a novel with my kids. We're in the fun phase -- drafting characters and brainstorming ideas.
I call them idears, and we keep them in a black book I call My Little Ocean. The Ocean used to be pocket-sized. Now it's a leather-bound journal.
Anyway, we're drafting the characters, and I keep coming back to orphanizing the two kids.
See, you need two kids, a boy and a girl, same as I have at the house. I'm not making them twins. The girl is older by a year.
And I keep killing off their parents. Sometimes one or the other parent is alive, but usually the kids are somehow abandoned.
And I got to thinking how common that is.
Luke Skywalker was an orphan. So was Harry Potter. Little Orphan Annie and the kid in Great Expectations were orphans. Superman was an orphan. Megamind and Metroman were orphans. Percy Jackson was semi-orphaned, had an estranged father.
I could go on, but you get the point so go on your own dang self. The thing is, we orphanize our children in YA lit.
Why is that, I wonder?
I still don't have the answer, but I'm beginning to let that question fester. I look back at my own stories and realize I have a novella about orphans. Never thought about it.
There's something romantic about an orphan, something magical, something that gets the gears turning and makes us automatically relate to them.
Why do we relate to kids without parents? Why is it so easy to demonize step-parents and victimize step-children? I have no freaking clue. You tell me.
But we do relate. Maybe it's that coming-of-age thing, where we all sever from our parents and become ourselves.
Oh, Spider-Man was orphaned, too. So was Batman, and in fact his orphanization caused him to morph into the Dark Knight.
Gads, that's an easy thing to think up orphaned heroes, isn't it.
You tell ME! Why are orphans so common and desirable in literature!
Meanwhile, I'll be drafting my own set of orphans. They have [expletive] eyes. Shh. Don't tell anyone.