Message to everyone with a sister: HOW DO I WRITE YOUNGER SIBLINGS?

Hello there! I am currently writing a story about two sisters, and I need some help creating realistic dialogue from the younger sister.

For some context, I am the oldest sibling and I have brothers, not sisters. I also don’t have many girl cousins, so the whole “sisters” dynamic is not one that I have ever really experienced personally. (Although I have always loved it- from Frozen to The Hunger Games) The relationship between the MC (Imara) and her younger sister (Maya) is central to the story, and I really want to get it right.

Is there anyone, especially someone with an older sister, who is able to answer some questions I have about how a younger sister would feel in the situation I’ve created?

Summary of the situation

In my story, Imara (16) and Maya (12) play Episode together on Imara’s phone. However, when Maya turns 13 and downloads Episode on her own phone, she begins reading a lot of stories that have a negative impact on her attitude. She complains about gossipy popular girls and seems to romanticize bad boys. Imara is worried about her, and expresses this in a scene when they are in the car, about to go on a trip (we are going to pretend that the parents can’t hear them/aren’t listening).

The reader has three options on how Imara expresses herself to Maya.

The story uses a points system with the characters. Before this scene, the reader has already had the opportunity to earn up to 7 points with Maya by playing a mini-game. The points received from these dialogue options are where I think I need the most help. In the first option, Imara tells off Maya and the reader looses two Maya points (I guessed that most younger siblings don’t like it when older siblings tell them off). In the second option, Imara expresses her concern. I don’t know whether this should cause the reader to gain one point or loose one point.

Then there’s the third option, seen below


Does gaining one Maya point from this option make sense?

Finally, (and this is where I really need help from younger siblings), the points that the reader has with Maya determine her reaction.

This is what I have so far, and I don’t think it sounds like an actual younger sister:

Thanks for reading, and even if you can’t come up with any improvements to the script, I’d love to hear your perspectives on what it is like to be a younger sister.

I’m a younger sibling, so I’ll try to share my perspective! : )

The dynamic between siblings matters a lot. Someone is going to be a lot more receptive to the concern others express if they get along with that person, as opposed to someone they’re not fond of. From the sounds of it, your sibling characters are pretty close, so I imagine the younger of the siblings, Maya, would be okay with listening to her sister expressing her concerns.

Approach also matters. If you immediately rush into scolding someone, they’ll either get defensive or shut down, neither of which will help either of the people. This is more of a nitpick, but I’d honestly cut the choice to two options, as two of the options are already similar. You could also make a third option, where the older sibling, Imara, says nothing. Depending on Maya’s personality, she might not care if Imara says nothing, she might appreciate her sister backing off, or she takes offense/feels hurt by her sister’s silence.

Considering Maya’s current struggle is with her attitude, she’d probably be more defensive if the reader has less points. Perhaps she’d respond in a more “mind your business” manner? Of course, she could very well be the type that’s not as rude, it just depends on the direction you want to go with her personality.


And just a side note, you might want to find other factors that contribute to Maya’s behaviors. It usually takes more than something seen online to impact someone that much. Perhaps she’s getting picked on by people similar to the popular girls in the story?


Anyways, I hope this helps : D

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It reads fine to me. I’m a younger sister and can say we generally do tend to be more aloof than our older siblings. It’s because we’re used to having someone watch out for us. Whether or not the reader gains points should depend on who your characters are and what they’re receptive to. I can’t infer much from this sample other than the sibling dynamic. Many other qualities besides age could affect this dialogue. Personality, culture, life experiences… Try to account for all this when you write.

This video does a better job of phrasing what I’m trying to say. “Filters” is a great term for it. Temper the information you need to convey with all the things keeping your characters from saying just that. Good luck!

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