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A question of kinship.

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Anders Ämting, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. Okay, I have a major antagonist - basically a lieutenant of the main villain - whom I want to be related to my main character. Now, I thought about going the classic route and making them twin siblings, but that has been done a lot and besides, I think it would be a hassle to work that in since I'll have to think of a reason they got separated and I don't really see that working out with the plot I have in mind. Then I thought about making them cousins instead. This works, but it doesn't seem like an especially interesting relation.

    So, my idea is to have their mothers be sisters, but they share the same father. I wasn't even sure what that combination is called, so I did some research: Turns out it would make them "horizontal 3/4 siblings." (Duh. Obviously.)

    This would handily let me give these characters different mothers but still let me treat them as essentially brother and sister.

    My question is: Do you suppose this would this come across as off-putting to the average reader? Genetically speaking, it's all quite legit: No inbreeding or incest going on anywhere. Still, I'm worried the readers will look at this mess and go like: "Ew."

    (Don't get me started on vertical 3/4 siblings.)
  2. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    Its workable.

    You might try giving them the same father, but having mothers not related to one another - earlier marriage, or long term affair.
  3. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    My suggestion:

    Seriously, it sounds kind of "Hamlet" to me, but you can probably still get the story published if the marriages were consecutive rather than concurrent. (And if you're self-publishing, do whatever you want!)
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2017
  4. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

    My best friend in the entire world has sisters by his aunt - the only creepy part about it is that his father is so much older than his mother.
  5. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    If you do decide to keep their mothers related, you might still refer to the characters as "half-brothers," at least for general mention. It doesn't tell the whole story but it's close enough to be convenient, and it might also capture that they're both a little shy about how there's more to it.
  6. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

    It's not only workable, it was a common practice in many cultures. A man would go off to war and die. His brother would marry his wife. If the brother is already married, she is the second wife. Any kids from the first wife and second wife would be considered siblings by the father.

    It's still practiced in some cultures now. The idea is that the original husband's responsibility to care and protect his wife is extended to all males of his family.

    Another consideration. GRRM talks of Targaryen kings marrying their sisters much like the ancient emperors of Persia did. His books didn't suffer from something as disturbing as that, so I think you'll be fine.
    T.Allen.Smith likes this.
  7. Well, it's very influenced by Arthurian legend, where like half the characters seem to be illigitimate half-siblings of the other half.

    Plus, their family is kinda messed up in general.

    Who said anything about marriages? At least one of these kids is born out of wedlock. (Probably the main character.) Frankly, I considered that to be my least concern in this scenario.

    Actually, the main character doesn't know about any of this in the beginning, and she's like: "He's my what?" when she finds out. Her brother figures it out pretty quickly, though, and is pretty aloof about it.

    And part of the reason I want them to be related this way is that it makes them closer than half-siblings, so it makes more sense to refer to the guy as the main character's brother.
  8. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    That makes me think of the Biblical story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah. Sounds like an interesting story -- plenty of opportunity for a wide range of emotional reaction on both sides.

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