Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mothers In Fiction

In honor of Mothers everywhere since last weekend was Mother's day I felt it would be appropriate to write about the significance of mothers in fiction. From the beginning of storytelling mothers have played an important role in our tales. Beowulf dates back, some think, as far as the eighth century and is an unforgettable story about a protective mother. It has endured the ages and still inspires writers and filmmaker's today. Though its main character is the warrior who slays Grendel, the story would be nothing if Grendel's mother hadn't set it all in motion. It will always be one of my favorites.

Even further back is the story of Alcmene. Her notorious affair with the god Zues produced the infamous Hercules. Then of course there was Hercules's stepmother Hera, the woman scorned. Both of these *clears throat* 'ladies' helped shape one of the most famous stories in history.

Be they good or evil, mothers are essential to our stories even if they aren't about them. Mothers have a profound affect on their children and have a hand in shaping how they turn out. By bringing them into our novels we can add depth, tension, drama, or tenderness. They can be part of the background or forefront, either a main character, supporting character, or a memory. If your book is lacking something think about adding mom! For more on parents in fiction check out this post.  



  1. Heather, this is a great post for all writers. Being that we all have a mother, just a few character traits of good old mom will bring in emotions... good and bad... from our experiences. Could there be a more powerful way to instill feelings, emotions with such depth as through the mother? I don't think so. Mother/Daughter, especially -- sometimes the most challenging of all relationships. Powerful stuff. Happy Mother's Day to all!

  2. no kidding, right? And let's not forget Demeter and Persephone, speaking of mother/daughter duos who almost ended the world. As you say, good or bad, moms are POWERFUL.

  3. My CP are always asking, "But what about the parents?" :D

  4. Moms are so powerful. Well said!

  5. Karlene, it is a great way to bring out those emotions, so true!

    Linda, yes, two of my favorites!

    Stina, that happens a lot in YA. We have to be careful not to forget them. They don't have to be a main character but we need to remember they shaped things.

    Lydia, thank you!