December 31, 2013

Writing About My Nephews

This is an article I wrote about my nephews and how children can inspire our writing. It was published in The Florida Writer by the Florida Writers Association in 2012, and I wanted to share it with you now.

Writing about my Nephews


Chrys Fey

Children are a great source of inspiration for writers with their funny statements, fresh outlook on life, and untarnished personalities. I am blessed to have two great little boys in my life, my nephews, who give me sparks of inspiration all the time. They have been a big part of my life ever since their births.

When I was rewriting the first book of my supernatural-thriller series back in 2007, I incorporated a special character who had not existed in the original copy. This character was not a stunning woman or a handsome man, but a child based after my oldest nephew, Mello. At the time, he had only been one year old. Today, he is seven.  

I loved including someone very close to my heart into my story. His role was small, only coming into the book at the very end, but his impact with his chubby cheeks and cute, childish attitude made him a permanent fixture. He returned in the second book for another small scene, but one that I had taken from my own life. There had been many times when I had fed him dinner and gave him small slices of hot dogs and green beans to eat in his highchair, and I always loved how he would curl his tiny fist around a green bean. That little act made its way into my book.

Although he only claimed two sentences in that story his role is significantly larger in the fourth and last book in my series. He is still a toddler in my story, which makes it even more fun to write because I get to look back on my cherished memories of him and immortalize them in words.

My younger nephew, Carmello, is six years old. (He actually just had his birthday last month.) When he was just a newborn baby, I took care of him every day. Unlike his brother, who had been a quiet and calm baby, Carmello was a loud and dramatic baby. Back then, I was young myself and extremely overwhelmed. I was just the aunt, but I felt as though I was going through postpartum depression.

I remember crying in my room one day, unable to hold back the tears that I had kept bottled up for days. I couldn’t understand how I had gotten to that point -I hadn’t had the baby, my sister did- but being a caregiver to my infant nephew, who demanded so much more attention than I was used to, threw me into the role of motherhood prematurely. I was sitting at my desk, my head down on the smooth brown surface, the same desk I am sitting at right now, and an idea came to me in the midst of the heavy downpour of tears. The idea was a story about a girl who becomes pregnant young and has a baby boy. That baby boy was my nephew, Carmello. And I started writing it immediately.

Unfortunately, I have not written as much on this story as with other works. When I do write more, I plan to use many memories I have with Carmello when he was a baby, like walking back and forth in my small apartment with him in my arms while bouncing slightly in an attempt to calm him down and end his nonstop wails.

I love my nephews with all my heart and every day I became even more proud of them. They may be brothers, but they are completely different and this fact only intensifies my love for both of them. Mello is tall and Carmello is short. Mello’s skin tone is darker while Carmello’s is lighter, and all of their facial features are opposite from each other’s. Even their likes and personalities are different. Mello hates vegetables, but Carmello loves them. Mello can be wildly obnoxious and Carmello can be sweetly calm. Obviously, they swapped positions from when they were babies.

As we all know, children say the darndest things. Whenever I am around my nephews, I make sure I have paper and pen to write down the crazy things that come out of their mouths in case I can use them in my future writings. Here are some interesting things that my nephews have said that I thought were pure genius:   

 “Everyone has hearts, except houses . . . We also have roots; they keep our hearts in place.”

 “The moon has stinkies around it!” Carmello said this one night after he saw the moon in the dark sky and referred to the thin clouds around it as evidence that the moon had gas.

And here is a conversation I once overheard the two of them having:

Carmello: “Stay out of my business!”

Mello: “You don’t have any business.”

Carmello: “I have some business!”

My nephews have clearly impacted my writing from the time they were babies, and now that they are older I can visualize writing a story about two brothers just like them, because their differences as brothers just makes their relationship that much more special.

I look forward to seeing them grow into young men and I am sure they will keep on inspiring me even then.

Mello and Carmello

QUESTIONS: Has a child inspired your writing? What is the funniest thing you’ve heard a child say?


  1. Children ARE a wonderful source .... They see things so brightly and have no reservations expressing themselves....

    Sad that we lose this as adults.


  2. Great article! Children are sometimes the best sources of inspiration. My daughter has inspired many of my stories.

    1. Thank you, Kelly. And it's neat to know your daughter has inspired some of your stories. :)

  3. That "business" dialogue was so funny! But you know what I'm most impressed about, Chrys? The way you transformed the near bout of depression into a spurt of writing energy. That was amazing and I'm so glad you did!

    1. Thank you, Claudine! It was a difficult time for me, but looking back, I am surprised I was able to overcome it with creativity.

      Thank you so much for your comment! :)

  4. Chrys, this was beautiful, and I love how much your nephews have inspired your writing. I'm sure they will continue to do so as your writing grows with the steps and milestones you and your nephews conquer=)
    Children have always held a huge place within my heart ever since I started caring for them during and after college. My niece, Kayle, was the source of one of my characters in a children's book I wrote=)
    The imagination of a child is endless and full of discovery, wonder and opportunities. I am forever reminded of my own childhood through the eyes and imagination of my niece and the thousands of kids I get to visit each year. I'm really thankful for authors (and good friends=) like you who are so inclined to share their gratitude for the inspiration of our irreplaceable and magnificent children.

    1. Without my nephews, I'd be a different person. Whenever I read the parts in my series with the little boy inspired by my nephew, Mello, I smile. :)

      Your niece Kayle was Kaylee! Oh, that is marvelous! I like knowing that. :)

      You're right. There is nothing more magical or special than a child's imagination. If only we could bottle it. ;)

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Gina.