Why do UF heroes and heroines so often have messed up, missing or dead parents? (+psssst...you can win a book!)

Does this look like a proper breeding ground
for a UF hero or heroine? 
I’m not making some big, original observation when I point out that urban fantasy heroes and heroines are often challenged in the family department. 

I myself killed off my heroine Justine’s mother, and her father lives in a heavily defended shack in the woods. (All the better to be prepared for that killer epidemic that's sure to come.) 

And her brother is a llama herder in Peru or something - I’d actually have to go back and check what I made him, that’s how important he is! 

Why is it so tempting for us writers to deprive an urban fantasy heroine (or hero) of a strong family? Read on at Stella Ex Libris...

Image: The Mokros Family, a public domain file from wikimedia commons


I believe that the best explanation is that the past that forms the base personality and reasoning in a hero/heroine is key to relateablity of the readers. If the reader can empathize and/or sympathized with the overall motivation that makes up the past of the character, they are more likely to follow them and notice quirks of personality, emotional growth, and feel the deeper meanings behind the obstacles that the main character has to overcome. Our family is a huge part of our formative years and provides a simple structure for character personality and motivation that would otherwise have no reasoning. Thus making the characters actions unbelievable and two dimensional. Simply put, paints a better picture of the character.

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