I've been making up stories in my head for as long as I can remember. They make good company, and they're a lot better than a lot of other things I could be thinking about. I don't think I can pinpoint the first story I made up, at least not the first one I contemplated writing. I can remember key phases, though.
At first there were dragons in every story. Specifically, Pern-type dragons. Ones who could talk telepathically. Then there were large cats with similar telepathic skills. And then there was this bizarre time, when I was no older than twelve, if that, when every story I thought of had six children in it—and they were always sextuplets.
Sometimes it was the main character who was the mother of six children. Now, this is particularly odd for me. I don't want children and never have, and at twelve or younger, I couldn't fathom why anyone would want children, so having a character have six was peculiar. Something about the nonstop struggles of a parent with six children was vastly appealing to my preteen mind. Then there's the fact that I have only one sibling. Which meant when I imagined writing the story from one of the children's point of view, it would be about the camaraderie and sibling rivalry of a big family. Again, vastly appealing to my preteen mind. There was even the moment when I envisioned the series, each story showcasing a different child's adventures.
Since that phase, I've not thought of a single character or story where the main character has a sibling. At best, Aria has a half-sister and an pseudo-brother. It simply didn't occur to me to provide Madison—or any of the dozens of characters I've written about in the last two decades—with a sibling.
That realization was enough to stop me in my imaginative tracks. I've been limiting my characters without even realizing it. I was so focused on them and their journey that I missed out on some key secondary characters.
I'm not going to change Madison, but some of my secondary characters in Aria are getting larger families. And it's given me something to keep in mind for future novels I write.