Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Love and Writing, Part II

Because 'romantic' love is not the only kind of love there is. 

Sooo... without further ado...

*drum-roll please…* 

Parents and Children!

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.

Erm… I think the last one was more fun… lol

Let's just say it's not easy being a parent in my stories
(or in any YA fiction, for that matter. Ha. ;)

In other words, though, both parents of Jim Boltaire, Will Arrington, and Ben-Kiral are all dead before their stories start… as is Jennie Wilcox's mother and the Meyrick brother's mother as well. Tam Lyn, on the other hand, still has a mother, but his father is dead.

Those of my characters whose parents are yet living unfortunately do not always have the best of relationships with those parents. Nor do those parents necessarily survive the story.

Case in point...
(please forgive the royal unedited state of these snippets... some really do make me cringe, but maybe this will make me work on them more. XD)

Kefira in The Jeweled Dagger:

Kefira and her mother, which can unfortunately be summed up in two lines.

       “How many scars will you have to get, Kefira, before you learn to obey?” 
       Her mother would never know deeply that question cut.

and a longer bit showing her and her father.

        Again Kefira pulled against the rope, tugging her wrists fruitlessly. Several of the Syrians charged forward, their horses blocking her view, and the other captives shrank back, away from the fighting. She twisted away from the others, ripping at one of the knots with her teeth.
The rope gave slightly, and then her view was clear again. She froze, her wrists still up before her mouth, staring at the pile of bodies lying in the sand, the men who had been coming for the prisoners. 
       “Father!” Kefira scarcely recognized the hoarse voice as her own. She threw herself towards him, her hands suddenly slipping through the ropes that bound them. Half-crawling, half-running, she darted to her father, falling to her knees beside him. That instant froze in time as she stared at the blood covering his chest. 

Jennie's (Tam Lyn) relationship with her father has been one of the most painful to write so far, probably because I see no fixing of it. In the others, at least, there was hope of reconciliation, but for her... I have not yet figured it out. This is so short it may make her out to be completely rebellious, but in context, she's really not trying to be. But she is very hurt and very confused, and... 

       “Did something happen to your hand?”
Looking down, I turned my hand over, folding my fingers over Mercy’s careful bandaging job. “I… cut it a little, that’s all.”
“It’s all right?”
“Yes.” I looked up, smiling calmly. He could never read my face, never in a thousand years, and it was not my fault that this was so. 
“Good. Be careful with the kitchen knives. I’ll be in my study,” he added, turning and walking through the doorway.
I watched him go, dropping my hand back down to my side. The kitchen knives? Apparently he had forgotten that I had hired Anna Marie two years ago to take charge of the kitchen and cooking. And the study was where he had gone every night since I could remember. No surprise there. 

Tam Lyn's (Tam Lyn) story is not very far along, but already I've caught what I think will be one of my favorite glimpses of Lord Braden Roxbury... when the life of the mother he despises is threatened.

        “Kill her first. We all know what mothers are like,” The prince turned away with a smirk on his face, glancing at the Queen Mother as if he had said something amusing.   

        I gasped in horror, looking at the man on his knees. But in that moment the Tam Lyn who had been kneeling there, carelessly replying to insult and blow with a mockery as cool as had been dealt him, was no more. In his place was a golden flame of fury, and I stared in amazement as one guard went down before his violence, the other stumbling away, only to trip over someone’s conveniently placed foot. Tam headed straight for the throne, in a silent rage more deadly than any blustering anger could ever be. 

What happens with Razavia (Faith Through Flames, And it was Love, Hope Sprang Up) and her parents definitely plays a large role in her story, even though they only appear in a deleted excerpt from the first chapter in Faith Through Flames... 

“Look! My hair is the same color as yours, Mamma!” she laughed, though there was something wistful in the sound.
“Oh, silly girl. Give me my scarf, Živa-love.” The Ellasaran queen smiled indulgently, holding out a hand to her daughter for the silk-patterned scarf.
Slowly the girl handed it over, her fingers slipping reluctantly through the golden fringe. “It’s so pretty…” she sighed softly.
Her mother moved to stand before the mirror, tying the long scarf about her waist carefully and then reaching for her amber wrist-circles. She glanced over at her daughter though, pausing in her toilette. “Your hair is lovely, Živa. It is just like your Grandmother’s, and she was a beautiful woman.”


Her mother cried out, the sound suddenly choked off in a strangled gasp as she went to her knees, her hands clutching at the arrow that had stopped her voice.

Razivia stood in frozen horror, her eyes fastened on the shaft half-buried in her mother’s throat, the black feathers at the arrow’s end still fluttering slightly from their flight. The door swung open then, and suddenly her father was knocking her to the floor, shoving her beneath the mirrored table as the third arrow buried itself in wall just where Razivia had been a moment before.

   She lay beneath the table, the breath knocked from her body, staring as her father slowly rolled to his knees and went to the queen, his every movement as if he were in a dream, afraid to wake.

Arael Daran (Faith Through Flames, brief appearance in And it was Love) was one of those characters who randomly appeared in my story, and had a far, far greater role than I originally thought. Miracle of miracles, he and his father are very close. (No surprise, then, that his father is killed, is it? :P)

“Thank you for supper,” his father said, and Arael glanced up, his smile chasing away his darker thoughts.
His father smiled too, reaching out to ruffle Arael’s curls. “You’re a good boy.”

    He sighed then, and Arael looked at the floor, knowing the man was thinking of his wife. Twelve years was a long time to mourn her loss, but the men of the house of Daran were nothing if not loyal. His father could not have married anyone else – and Arael could not have called the woman mother if he did.  

Pyrrhos (Faith through Flames, brief appearance in Hope Sprang Up) also has a decent relationship with both his parents. Yay! I'm not gonna say what eventually happens to them... :P

              Suddenly he was stumbling backwards, his sword flying through the air in the opposite direction, and his father was lowering his own sword, laughter upon his rugged face.
            “I thought you were better than that, Per.”
            The boy scrambled to his feet, hastily retrieving his sword. “I am better than that – I was distracted.”
            His father shook his head, his face suddenly grave. “You canna allow yourself to be distracted, lad. Think. Focus. Your life depends on the edge of that sword – an’ unless you remember that, I can only pray that Elyon takes mercy upon you.”


            “I’m taller than Father, now.”
            His mother turned, laying her arm upon his shoulder, resting her head against his.
“That you are, dear one.”
He straightened, pulling away from her slightly with a wide grin upon his face.
“Perhaps someday I’ll be as tall as you.”
She smiled, a trifle wanly.
“An’ you wanted to be as tall as your mother, you should have picked for a father a man who didna go to the lowlands to marry an eachtrannach.”
The ugly word rolled from her tongue as if it did not hurt, but he knew it did, and he answered fiercely, taking her hands with his own tightly.
“You are not a wretched foreigner. You are me own dear mother, an’ you speak the highland speech better than father does himself. An’ if you are half a head taller than him – then there’s just the more of you to love!”

Josie Adair (Some Trust in Chariots, eventual sequels...) gets the singular spot of being I think the only character I have who has a good relationship with both parents, neither of whom die over the course of the story!! Miracles abound... ;)
 I'm going to do it a little differently, though, and show her father's perspective, as he tries to find his missing daughter... 

       They had found a cave a few miles north of the cabin, and enough evidence to show that the girls had been there - and that someone else had been living there for several days. His trail had vanished along with the girls. What that meant he did not want to think.
        If he could think at all. He had slept perhaps five hours since Monday, and even as he stood there he could feel the ground swaying beneath him. Blinking, he looked at the men beside him. After a moment, he recognized Henry Taylor coming toward him.
       “Seth… I’m sorry. I can’t find anything else.”
       What was he supposed to say to that? He simply stood there, unresponsive.        
       The older man tried again. “Unless someone else had found another lead, I think we need to call the men back and -”
       “And what? Give up? Let them just disappear?” The savageness of his own voice surprised him, and he brought his hand to his head. “No, Henry, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. I…” 
       Somewhere behind them a crow cawed noisily.

her and her mother...

         Her mother cried out, sitting frozen for a moment, and then reaching out towards her, tears starting to her eyes.
And then Jose was sitting on her mother’s lap, where she had not sat for years, clasped tightly in her mother’s arms.
       “Oh, baby, I was so scared.” Her mother’s arms tightened convulsively about her, and Josie pressed in against her, knowing that at last she was home.

            “Mama,” she whispered, hiding her face on her mother’s shoulder. 

And Josie as a mother. (I think she's the only one of my characters like that as well! Rosalia will eventually, but I haven't written it yet. :P)

           She’d been standing still for too long, however, and Nathan had jumped off her foot and was now hopping back and forth over it. Smiling again, she reached down and took his hand, halting him mid-hop. “Come on, Nathan. Time to go inside.”
            His tiny fingers curled around hers and he looked up at her eagerly. “Da-da in-side?”
            Shaking her head, she smiled. “No, but Da-da will be home tonight, Lord willing. Did you miss him?”

            Nathan’s lips curved into a tiny pout, and he ignored her question. As usual, she thought, wondering if she should worry about that or not. 

Will Arrington (Will Arrington, Some Trust in Chariots, eventual sequels...) though he does not have parents so far as he knows, does eventually become a father. And... well... he's Will. *cough* And everyone else, except him and his wife, call their daughter Willie. Because she is the girl version of him. Hoo-boy, yeah, they make the eventual sequels interesting. XD

             “How are your apples coming, Rosie-love?” he asked, and Willie removed the apple she had been dipping with a flourish.
            “Beautifully!” she said, waving it tantalizingly in front of his face, the caramel, not yet quite hardened, slipping slightly.
            He opened his mouth, and she snatched the apple away with a cry, setting it carefully on a plate before she picked up another. Her father laughed and she shook her head at him.
            “I don’t have enough yet for you to start eating them!”

Jaden Beorn (And it was Love) and his relationship with his father… (another that was very painful to write :P)

   River waited until he raised his eyes again and then motioned him back further onto the bed, helping him swing his leg around so that it was entirely on the bed. Ignoring the broken pitcher and the food still lying on the floor, she sat down on the chair, crossing her arms in disgust at the entire nation, small as it was. 
   “Your father certainly didn’t seem to bothered by the fact that his son and heir was dying upstairs.”
   Jayde’s face twisted in a wry half-smile. “From what you’ve said, he’s wearing the skin of the bear that almost killed me.”

His relationship with his mother, on the other hand... I'm not going to say it's good, but there are at least a few happier interactions. Though this here is actually more of a sad moment...

   “Are you all right?” he asked softly, but she took a deep breath and this time when she looked at him, her face was again calm. 
   “Son of my left hand,” she said softly. “Shall I tell you a story?” She motioned with her hand, and he moved to sit at her feet, leaning back against the chair and facing the fire, his hands resting on one bent knee. 

River Sen Aransedorien (And it was Love) has a rather different relationship with her parents...
and I think I will simply show it through Jaden Beorn's eyes. In a scarily LONG snippet.
(Miss Melody Muffin, this is for you! :D)

   “He is dead,” she said then, twisting her hands apart to clench them at her sides, lifting her chin in that same way River had. 
   Jaden almost looked away. The tiny reminder was like being punched in the stomach, and what he had to do was hard enough without that.
   But the queen stepped toward him, the tears she was so obviously defiantly resisting evident in her voice, and he could not refuse to meet her eyes. 
   “My daughters are no more... and my husband is dying.”
   “River is not dead.” He could not help but say it.
   The faint shock in the queen’s eyes was hint enough that his outburst was thoroughly inappropriate, but as the shock subsided, he saw something else enter her eyes, just before she turned away, raising one hand to press her fingers against suddenly trembling lips. 
   “You are right,” she said softly, when she could speak. “She is worse than dead.” 
   He clenched his teeth together to keep from replying to that, even as his heart cried out against her words. But she was speaking again.
  “And now they are coming over the mountains, and there is nothing I can do about it. Tarian was guarding the passes – when he was not looking for his sister.” 
   She smiled faintly, painfully, at him, looking over her shoulder. “He refused to believe that she was dead, ever. Or that Brynhaven could destroy us. And yet here is Brynhaven, in our very midst, killing us all – taunting us even in the manner of our deaths. Fast, like Temira… Slow, like my husband… or just half-way, like Tyrielle. Casimir Re kills in any manner he chooses, and we are helpless before him.”
   Again she looked away. “He holds every one of us in the palm of his hand. He told me to surrender, to give my land and my people over to his reign of terror, or else watch as he took them from me one by one, beginning with those I held most dear. So he has… and there is nothing I can do to stop it!”
   Jaden’s eyes found the floor and he did not lift them. He wanted to say something to her – but what words could possibly help to lesson the pain she bore? 
   He heard her take a ragged breath, and then her voice was steady. 
   “You wished to speak with me again, Jaden Beorn. Why? Do not ask to see my daughter. I think you have done enough.”
   Was not that the truth. For an instant he could not even respond, seeing before his eyes only the unbelievable anguish that had not yet left River’s face. 
But slowly he raised his head, swallowing hard. “I desire permission – to leave your country. I went after River – after the Princess Tyrielle – only to save her from Casimir Re, and she is home now. I am sorry for my part in all this… you cannot imagine how much. You can’t,” he repeated, looking away and trying to regain his slipping control. It hurt so unbelievably much.
   “And now you wish to leave, having come bringing me a daughter who would be better off dead and the body of the one who threw away his life for hers. Then go! I should forbid it... I should question you further… I should… What matters it? My country is falling and it is my hands that are red with my people’s blood. Go! Kadien will take you over the mountains.” The queen’s voice hardened as she spoke, but there was a brittleness to it that hinted at how near to shattering she had come.
   Jaden opened his mouth, willing himself to reply, but she turned on him, all the command of a queen royal in her eyes.  
   “Go!” she repeated, raising her voice, her hands clenching into fists at her sides. 
   Somehow Jaden found himself outside the door, heading towards Kadien’s quarters, fighting an overwhelming horror. 
  I cannot leave her – not like this. Not with that woman, a mother who wishes her dead! I cannot!
   His footsteps slowed, and nearly turned towards the hall that led to River’s room. But someone was coming down that hall, so he stopped, waiting, until they came into view.
   It was the Darû, walking heavily, painfully down the hall, his head bowed. He paused a moment to catching his breath, putting a hand to the wall as he rested. After a moment, he slowly raised his head, as if just becoming aware of Jaden’s presence. 
  Jaden clenched his jaw, fighting the melded sorrow and rage that seemed to have become a part of him. It was all so wrong, so incredibly wrong!
   But River’s father seemed almost ready to smile, and there was compassion in his eyes. “I heard that you requested to speak with the queen. Then you are going to leave us?” His voice faltered at the end, and he began to cough, raising a shaking hand to his mouth as he struggled to breathe. 
   Jaden looked away. The man was so like Tarian, so like River. To see him like this, and yet to know what he must once have been… 
   “I will watch over her.” The man paused, steadying his hoarse voice. “But – but say you will come back. To River.” 
   Again he had to stop, and Jaden took a deep breath, forcing himself to meet the man’s eyes. 
   “I will,” he said, his voice low. “I promised… your son… that – that… I swore…” But he could not finish.
   River’s father nodded slightly, reaching out his right hand to lay it on Jaden’s shoulder. 
   “Go with Elohim,” he said softly, his brown eyes gentle. “May He bring you back in His time.”
  Then he was gone, shuffling laboriously down the long hall, leaving Jaden to look up at the dark wood panels that blocked the sky from his sight and to wonder at the pain that had replaced all the emotions he once had felt.

Writers... and Readers...

Soo... headcount.  I have more characters, with more parents, of course, but of the 28 possible parents here, 12 are dead before the story starts, 8, maybe 9, die somewhere in the story, and 8, living or dead, are the cause of most of their child's trouble. (Well, at times it's actually the child causing him/herself and his/her parents all the trouble, not the other way around.)

 Alos, it seems that there is an inverse relationship between how normal the interactions are between parent and child and how much time they spend together in my stories. :P

Mr. and Mrs. Adair are probably my best parents, and Josie spends almost the entire book kidnapped and away from them. Jaden Beorn's father is absolutely horrendous, and he is in the story a lot

Does anyone else have a hard time getting a 'normal' parent-child relationship into their stories? *cough* :P

Which do you think is easier, when that relationship is a source of conflict for a character or a source of strength?

Which type do you see (or write) more often?

Also, do you think it makes a difference if a character has a bad relationship with his/her father or his/her mother?

I think, for me, it's easier to write poor father-child relationships somehow... to quote Rafael Sabatini, "A man's mother is more sacred than his father..." or, rather, what makes sense to me: daddy-issues can make for good stories - people NEED their fathers, but somehow that doesn't seem to destroy the character as fundamentally as mommy-issues have the capacity to do. 

Still, And it was Love has two rather dysfunctional mothers - and it has been the hardest book I've ever tried to write. One of the characters, however, has a very good father, the other a horrible father, and it was rather fascinating to see that despite the lack of love my heroine recieved from her mother, between her great father and awesome older brother, she was okay, while the other's problems with his father completely overshadowed the serious problems between him and his mother. 

Tam Lyn and Jennie both have one parent dead and a horrible relationship with the other parent (which is at least partially the reason they end up in the situation that they do). However, as far as well-adjusted goes, Jennie is at a much better place in her life than Tam is. Despite her painfully non-existant relationship with her father, she is much more 'okay' than Tam, who was almost destroyed by his mother's betrayal. 

Which is probably why I usually end up killing mothers and going with poor fathers, rather than the other way around. :P 

How do your stories usually end up?  

4 thoughts shared:

Jessica said...

<<<<<33333 You have so many brilliant ideas... I want to steal this one too. Can I pwease?

Hmm I love these clips! Josie is such a sweetie!<3 Her...and LOVE TAM - but you've heard that before *blush* I adore him.


Katherine Sophia said...

:D I stole the original from Mirriam... and Vicki did one... and Melody said she wants to... I really want to see what you'd do! :)

lol... Yeah, that's Tam... XD

Katherine Sophia said...

Miss Melody Muffin:

Hurray! I was delighted to see this post on my dashboard!!

'It's not easy being a parent in my stories.' I can identify with this, or rather, the parents in my stories can! That is, they could if they were alive! I am NOTORIOUS for the vast majority of my characters being orphans! (I am planning a post on my penchant for writing orphans, I hope to have it up later this month.)

Oooh, just those two sentences of Kefira's relationship with her mother! Very expressive.

Poor Jennie! Does her father not care because he is extremely absent-minded or is there a different reason?

Tam Lyn- WOW!! That was fantastic!! He did that even though he despises his mother?! I'm definitely liking Tam Lyn a lot!

Razivia's mother sounds beautiful!

I love the part about the loyalty of the men of the house of Daran!

Aww, how sweet of Pyrrhos, 'then there's just more of you to love!'

Hahaha! Will and Willie!!

YAY!!!!!!! More of And It Was Love!! I ADORED this long snippet. But how heartbreaking for Jaden!! And Tarian dies?! Noooo! Why does River's mother want her dead? Why does she consider River worse than dead now? River's father was achingly sweet!! Tarian and Jaden's meeting- I'm curious about that. And the adventure of rescuing River!

Katherine, that was great! I FELT what they were feeling so well!

Chronologically, is And It Was Love the first or third book?

I'm not sure which is easier, when the parent/child relationship is a source of strength or of conflict. The few stories I do have parents in :), are about evenly split between the two types.

I agree with you over the 'mothers are more sacred than fathers'. Fathers just don't have the same impact on a character's life as mothers do.

My stories usually end up with both parents dead, to be honest!

Oh, Katherine, if you ever need another beta reader (for any of your stories!)... I would be thrilled and honored to volunteer!! =) =)

Katherine Sophia said...

Thank you, Melody! :D Your comment totally made my day!

Ha, yeah, I seem to have a lot of parents dying in my stories... :P I look forward to your writing-orphans post! It's always nice to have company... :)

Yes, poor Jennie... as far as I've gotten at this point, her father simply is the type of person who doesn't do relationships - there is no malice in him, but actually being a father is outside his capability. Which is why I can't figure out how to fix it. :P

*giggle* I know, Tam Lyn there was being awesome instead of annoying. It was very fun to write. :D

Goody! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading that bit of AIWL! :D I think I had probably better not say more about what happened to River or to Tarian, else the entire book will probably be spoilt, lol. But I will say that Tarian and Jaden's meeting was one of my favorite scenes in the entire story. XD

Chronologically... eh, well, at the moment, Faith Through Flames is earliest, but because it mostly involves different characters (or so I'm thinking now... I have something of a plot, but that's always subject to change ;) it also goes the same time period as And it was Love and then a couple years beyond it. Which makes everything a little weird, time-line wise. So And it was Love takes place kind of near the end of Faith Through Flames, and Hope Sprang up is 14-15 years after the end of both of them. If that makes any sense at all. ;) I'm hoping it will after I'm done with all three, otherwise I'll be in trouble, lol.

Aw! Perhaps once I get a little closer to finishing up one of these I will begin asking for beta readers, and I will definitely keep you in mind and let you know! :D
Hopefully soon! ;) *glares at stubborn characters* :P


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