Friday, October 28, 2011

Sibling Relationships

Cowboy Brothers

I love writing about family relationships. In Son of a Gun some of my favorite scenes explored the relationship of two stepbrothers. This excerpt depicts how young teenage boys show affection. I based it on the interaction between my own sons as they were growing up.

Son of a Gun
Marty Halverson

“You lowdown mavericker! You thievin’ my cattle, agin, boy?” With a whoop, JJ leaped on the back of his brother’s horse, attacking MJ in a Texas wrestle. They had the common knowledge that they were tough, but who was toughest on a given day depended on who could pin who.

Sliding to the ground, MJ had trouble putting down his younger brother, and might never have made it if Trespass hadn’t leaped in and begun licking JJ’s face and nipping him in the side til he hit his ticklebone. That got JJ to giggling so hard he couldn’t fight, and MJ was glad to press the boy’s shoulders flat into the dirt of the trail and quit while he could.

They got up, knocking the dust and twigs off themselves to cover the awkward spell that was bound to set in when big boys had carried on too catnippy for their ages. As always, it was JJ who got to talking first. As they walked toward the barn with Trespass yapping at their feet and pawing for attention, he babbled a blue-tailed streak, as if they’d been separated for a month instead of just a few days.

“Ain’t you had nobody to talk to, Jage?" MJ asked. "That cowlicked filly a’ yours stopped listening to your chatter?” JJ faked a scowl but went right on jabbering, letting his brother lap up the family news.
It's fascinating to create characters—they actually come to life! As I got to know these brothers, I loved the relationship they had.

Do you have young sons, brothers or nephews?
I'd love to hear your observations about how boys show affection for each other.
How is it different from girls?

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