Family Anecdotes: Passing the Aunty Sara Test
Updated: Sep 7
Oh yes, this blanket passes the Aunty Sara test. On a softness scale of one to ten, it's a twenty. Aunty Sara would give it two thumbs up.
Several years ago, I went shopping with my youngest sister, Sara. Seriously folks, she strolled down the aisles caressing items with her cheek. After I asked her why she was fondling all the merchandise, she explained that she won't purchase anything that doesn't pass her softness test. Ever since that day, my family measures softness by using the Aunty Sara test. When my son gifted me this blanket for Christmas, he assured me it passed the test. And yes, he rubbed it against his cheek before he bought it.
Then there's Aunty Christy Sauce. The family was at a Chinese restaurant when my four-year-old granddaughter asked for some Aunty Christy Sauce. It took several minutes to figure out what she meant. Soy Sauce. She noticed that Aunty Christy used soy sauce on her food (even at home on foods not considered Asian cuisine). She dubbed it "Aunty Christy Sauce." To this day when we're eating Chinese food, someone will ask for, yeppers, the Aunty Christy Sauce.
When you're creating main characters, or even secondary characters, take a look at your family. You may have a trove of personal stories you could use to enhance your narrative, enabling characters to come alive to readers. Do you have funny stories from your life or that of your children? How about quirky habits? Have interesting anecdotes passed down through family lore? Journal them so you remember the details and don't hesitate to use them, if they help to move along a story line.
Instead of it being my sister caressing all those towels or blankets, what if it's a rough and tough detective and I want to expose his softer side (pun intended). Or maybe my rough and tough detective is astute and notices a suspect eats garlic on everything. So much so, his friends nickname garlic after him. "Please pass the Stinky Joe." It becomes a major clue which helps solve the case. (Yeah, it's a corny example but you get my point.)
Of course, your family may not want to be fodder in your next book adventure but that's the risk they take being related to a writer. It might be wise to get their permission first (unlike me...I didn't get their permission for this article...oops).