While writing my upcoming novel, Natural Disaster (releasing in October!), I’ve decided one of the most challenging things was writing a sibling relationship. I grew up as an only child, despite having three older sisters. They are all quite a bit older than me, so I never really had a close relationship with any of them.
My protagonist, Jessica, has an older brother. Evan is, in many ways, her best friend. They were always close as children but also had many moments of arguing and even dislike. I tried to reflect that relationship through their interaction and dialogue.
How, though, can I write a convincing sibling relationship when I don’t have personal experience? I pulled from observations of my children. I took what I saw between them and imagined how it could look in five, ten, or even twenty years. And perhaps I included some of my own wishful thinking.
When I send my manuscript out to beta readers, one of my questions will definitely be: Are the dynamics between Jessica and Evan believable? If not, how can I improve the story?
As writers, we are so often told to “write what you know.” But I say, write what you want. There are enough sources of information and media in the world that we can use to make up for our lack of direct knowledge. And the rest? Well, it’s fiction.