(This content can have a significant impact on your life…)
Prolific author James Scott Bell teaches that when we write characters in books, they are always living in and responding from one of three roles: parent, child, or adult.
The parent informs in an above-you teaching kind of way, can be dismissive (which comes off as arrogance), tells off/scolds, occupies a superior stance that can be placating, and “parents” in the way he/she/they interacts with others.
The child whines, insists, sounds off, cajoles, goes too long to try to get what he/she/they wants, name calls, has fits, wants his/her/their way, and “acts childish.”
The adult listens, thinks, and responds; he/she/they considers, gives information believed to be helpful, and allows for mistakes with grace yet holds accountable with kindness — acting “adult” to solve, help, and move forward.
Truths for Life…
At any point in time, we are all living within one of these three roles. People who are aware, mature, and care for others choose adult.
When any two people assume two different roles, conflict arises. Check it out. The position might be parent-child, adult-child, parent-adult, or whatever… but on some level, if the interaction isn’t adult-adult, the outcome is the same: conflict.
Let’s be adults. The end.
Erin M. Brown, MA, MFA, is the author of 10 books (fiction, nonfiction, academic, children’s) and has been a professional writer/editor of books for 20+ years, helping authors master story writing through seminars, coaching, and dozens of online courses. She has a terminal degree in Creative Writing, Genre Fiction, and has been a content writing expert/marketing director and storyteller for websites, videos, and multiple online programs for 20+ years. Erin was also a university writing instructor two times and Lead Writing Curriculum developer for a third university, as well as developing multiple college writing curricula and programs. Speaking to audiences on writing since the 80’s, Erin’s a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), Authors Guild (AG), Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Erin has also worked with Hollywood A-Listers in story development, judged numerous book and anthology contests, and has been a first and second tier judge for the Vivians/Ritas with RWA. Coffee mug or espresso in hand and surrounded by her collies, Erin writes from Michigan, USA.