Birthdays

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Just a quick thought about characters and birthdays, because I’ve been eating massive amounts of cake to celebrate a loved one’s birthday today. How important is it that your characters have (and celebrate) birthdays?

Now, this is a genuine question that I’m throwing out to the floor , here, because I’m not sure. I rarely show characters celebrating their birthdays, but they usually have them on dates firmly fixed in my head and will often be alluded to by other characters. I suppose it depends on the situation – in a fairly everyday setting (like mine – oops) characters probably should celebrate their birthdays, though preferably only if they’re interesting events, but in a post-apocalyptic situation birthdays might well get pushed aside. Then again, in a post-apocalyptic setting, a cupcake with a lit match stuck in the top might be the most beautiful thing one character could possibly give to another, a little slice of light and hope in a dark world.

So, what do you think? How significant are birthdays when you’re writing or reading a book?

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