I started school two weeks ago, by the way. Just in case you were wondering where I was... You probably weren't, but I feel guilty nonetheless.
And just in case you're joining us for the first time, the only background info you'll need to understand my lovely anecdote is that I work at a grocery store here in my hometown!
I work with the most awesome woman ever (for the sake of her privacy, we'll call her Addy). When I have a long shift, she always comes up with ways to make me laugh, and she has great advice to pass on to me. In short, she's my mom away from home. I get seriously depressed if we're not placed on the same shift because I know it'll be long and hard without any fun and laughter. We have the same goals (travel the world, write a little, stay happily single for at least another 10 years or so) and we love to share them with each other.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Addy was what I call my "adoptive parental advice unit," which we see a lot of in modern day (and older) fiction. Typically, they're the older people that the main character draws advice from in the novel. Think about every book you've ever read and try to remember if there was an APAU (pronounced ah-pow). Here's a couple to jog your memory:
- Cinna from The Hunger Games
- Dumbledore from Harry Potter
- Gloria from Because of Winn Dixie
- Marmee (Mrs. March) from Little Women (even though she's not technically adoptive, she's unusually attuned to her daughters' deeper needs)
Those were just a few of my favorites, but APAUs are used in many works of fiction nowadays. They do really well in bringing out the best in your MC- the good traits that readers are drawn in by, such as kindness and loyalty, which are often reflected in their APAU's personality. I think we'd all be better people if everyone had an APAU. They're often the most quotable people as well.
Do you have an APAU? If you have written your own APAU, what kind of characteristics did you give him or her?
“There ain't no way you can hold onto something that wants to go, you understand? You can only love what you got while you got it.” - Gloria from Because of Winn Dixie