Writing Exercise: Open a book you have recently read and liked. Open it randomly and choose a short paragraph. Anything, it doesn't even matter. Write or type it out and then just start writing on your own. Repeat as necessary.
From Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey.
"How is Mother?" I would ask him, but I would already know. She would be happy , because he would have been kind to her, because he was afraid of me. And he would know that perhaps I would let him live, if she stayed happy.
Michael: If mother stayed happy? Well, that's not the issue , is it? She doesn't have trouble with happiness, she flows easily through emotions. Just like I do, but with better behavior. The thing is trusting herself. The moment of intuition where you know their criticism is valid or coming from their own baggage. She doesn't have that filter that lets her see through the comment. She goes straight to a self judgment. And she finds herself wanting. What did she do wrong? And when she looks she will find something. She tries to do it their way.
How does Michael know there things? It was her mother's pure regard for himself that allowed him to see through her discipline. He has been favored by her. She lavished her love on him and as best she could has sheltered him from struggle. But she changed on a dime when the stepfather or grandmother chimed in. Her parenting is not to be trusted. Their judgment must be right. She believes them and imposes something that has been forced upon her. That is when it all falls apart. That is how the stepfather and grandmother controls her. Now is Jude doing the same? How do they so quicly learn to take advantage of her? And now he can see what they see. How could she do it? Why doesn't she just step up? He rejects this weakness of hers. Why can't she be a different kind of mother? Why does she give in to any wind that blows our way? Everything is in danger. He is short, curt, quick to snap and soon he is gone, lost to his own better judgment. He throws his basketball around. He throws his body around. He stomps his feet.
Post script: this worked for me a lot like a koan. Usually the content sparked something in my story. Different people spoke in response to different passages. It probably works differently for different people. Sometimes the passages were answered in first person, other times in third. In this particular one it switched from first person to third because I asked myself a question midway through.