With this weekend being Father’s Day, I thought it only appropriate to devote my blog today to fathers – both real and fictitious. Fathers inspire us and support us. Fathers offer up funny anecdotes to weave into our stories. Fathers are often our heroes, and unfortunately sometimes our villains. Good or bad, fathers have helped shape our minds into the plot spinning mazes they are.
I was terrified to tell my dad that I was a writer. After all, he’d paid to send me to school for an engineering degree and here I was trying to get published. When I finally worked up the nerve he was completely supportive, of course. And every time I talk to him now he asks how the writing is going. I know it seems stupid, but just having that little bit of approval is always like a propeller for me. I stopped worrying about what people would think and started concentrating on what really mattered – growing as writer.
Of course all this wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the other important Daddy in my life – my husband. I am very lucky to have a husband who offers to take the girls outside so I can have some writing time, and who understands the importance of writing conferences and monthly group meetings. My husband isn’t afraid to do the typical mommy duties if it helps me out, and is always an open ear for reading a scene aloud. As writer’s, we need that support from our husbands to live a healthy balanced life.
My better half
I heard an author once say that her heroines always had some sort of dysfunctional relationship with their mothers, and though the writing was literally right there in front of her she never realized the similarity this had to her relationship with her own mother.
You may already do this subconsciously but if you don’t, understanding the relationship your characters have with their fathers is a great way to add depth to them. Is your heroine a high-maintenance Betty who needs to learn to stand on her own feet? Is your hero a struggling single father determined not to leave his child? Does your heroine spend her days alone because she’s afraid of rejection?
Maybe a good or bad father is at the heart of all this. That high-maintenance heroine might’ve been a daddy’s girl. That struggling hero might’ve grown up without a father. And that lonely heroine might’ve only done wrong in her father’s eyes. When you think about the motivation behind your character’s behavior, considering the root will not only make them more believable, but also relatable. It’s much easier for a reader to forgive the bad parts of your protagonist if they understand where it came from.
So, how have the fathers in your life helped you as a writer? Do you have any interesting plots that have spun from a father/daughter relationship? What are your favorite father/son relationships in literature or movies? Please share and help us salute them!
Happy Father’s Day!