This was the prompt given in a creative writing class I sat in on last summer:
Describe your character's relationship with either their mother or their father; write in the third person - using narrative - describe the relationship.
I applied it to the main characterÂ in my YA novel:
She loved her mom. Really. She did. But - isn't there always a but? The best thing about Amanda's mom was that they had fun together. When it was just the two of them, they talked and laughed and sang the stupid camp songs that her mom remembered from when she was a kid and had taught to Amanda. The two of them went to zoos, and to parks, or for walks in the rain. Sometimes they just stayed home and did stuff. You know - crafts, or decorating cupcakes, or writing a story and drawing the pictures for it. It didn't matter that her father wasn't around; Amanda didn't really care - and when he did come to visit it was just so awkward and uncomfortable. It was always a relief when they drove him to the airport and left him at the gate. Amanda was happy enough with just her mom. People said 'oh, poor you, your mom's a single parent'. But she really didn't mind.
Except that it seemed like it was never good enough. For her mom. If it was, her mom wouldn't constantly be getting involved with boyfriends. Right now it was Nick, who Amanda thought of - although she didn't say it out loud unless she was very mad - as Nick the Prick. Nick and her mom had been together for about 6 months now. At first they'd just dated, and that wasn't so bad; he was tolerable when she only had to see him for a few minutes at a time. But then they decided that they should all live together. Not only that, within days, Nick had decided that he should do the father thing; tell Amanda what to do and when to do it. And her mom didn't seem to mind that at all. Once in a while she would intervene when things got really ugly. But most of the time, she just didn't react at all - or worse, she would tell Amanda to "do what he tells you; why do you have to fight with him all the time?"Â
Before Nick there was a couple of guys that she'd just dated, not lived with, and before that there was Dave. Amanda had actually liked Dave, at least better than the others, and definitely better than Nick! It really didn't matter what - or who - Amanda liked though. Her mother cared more about her boyfriends than about what Amanda thought. When there was a boyfriend, it seemed like Amanda was supposed to go from being her mom's best friend to being the somewhat annoying kid that they had to put up with, take care of, provide for... but not really want, or enjoy being with. Amanda loved her mom. Really. But she liked her best when she was being the mom. Not when she was being someone's girlfriend first, and Amanda's mom last.