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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fathers in Fact and Fiction


With Father's Day just around the corner my thoughts naturally turn to the subject of fathers, both in fact and fiction.

A father is a boy's first role model and a girl's first love. Everything a child needs to know about what it means to be a man, a husband, and a father a child learns from the first man in their lives, their father. I once heard it said the best gift a woman can give her children is to pick the right father for them. I have to agree.

I grew up watching The Donna Reed Show, Father Knows Best, My Three Sons, Leave It To Beaver, I Love Lucy and the like. (Yeah, I know I'm older than dirt.) The image of fatherhood I saw in these shows gave me a yard stick by which to judge my family, my parents and myself. Though we never quite lived up to those impossible TV standards - our family seemed a bit more The Simpsons and Rosanne - looking back now I realize how close we came at least in spirit and intent.

I'm blessed to have a great Dad. At ninety-one years old he's smart, funny, intelligent and one of my biggest fans. My nearly eight-eight year old mother is the other, and in addition to being a superb mother, she did a fabulous job of picking out my dad. By choosing a good dad for me she gave me the tools I needed to find a wonderful husband for myself and an excellent dad for our sons.

On the other hand my fictional characters aren't quite so lucky with the fathers I create for them. Often they're totally awful. In fiction crappy fathers give our heroes, heroines and even villains interesting backstories and motivations for their goals, motivations and conflicts.

In my contemporary romance THE BABY RACE the heroine's father spends all his time searching for treasure, ignoring the gem right under his nose. And the hero's father, while well -meaning, didn't even know he had a son until the boy was fourteen and his mother died. So when the hero and heroine come together to parent neither has a clue how to go about it.

In my Moon fantasies I killed off most of my characters' parents. And those that I allowed to live were usually the evil ones.  In STAR RAIDERS my upcoming release I had a blast with the hero and heroine's parental situations.

So while in real life loving fathers make for healthy, emotionally stable children, in fiction crappy, evil fathers create thought-provoking drama and provide built in conflict. Playing around with my characters' parental units is a lot of fun without all the personal emotional trauma. I get to play God. Too bad all my characters are devout atheists - at least where I'm concerned.

2 comments:

Bella Street said...

"So while in real life loving fathers make for healthy, emotionally stable children, in fiction crappy, evil fathers create thought-provoking drama and provide built in conflict. "

SO TRUE! LOL

Elysa said...

Just like in real life beta guys make great husbands and dads. :-)

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