1. -alex-

    -alex- Member

    Dec 23, 2011
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    She’s home: What would he say?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by -alex-, Feb 22, 2013.

    Hey guys.
    I hope this goes here, I wasn't quite sure...

    I was wondering if you might be able to help? I have a question for any parents out there, or anyone who may have runaway as a teen and been through this is with their folks; “Once the teen is back home, how do the parents react?”
    I’m really after the Father’s POV, because of my MC’s situation, see below.

    Let me explain my MC, her father, why she ran away, and both their motives and reasons. (Let me know if something doesn’t make sense)

    (Sorry if this is looooong. I tend to ramble when I’m trying explaining something like this.)

    Firstly, my story is Fantasy—well, sort of. My MC is a sixteen (almost seventeen) year old modern day Princess, living in a world almost the same as ours. So, think of somebody like one of todays young Royals, or s President’s daughter.

    Her mother and older sister were killed in a car wreck a year before the story starts. My MC was in the car but was the only one who survived.

    Before the wreck, she had a (mostly) happy home life; sometimes things were a little stressful from the family being in the constant spotlight of their “people” (their race), but generally, the family unit was happy. My MC had a sister she looked up to (but occasionally fought with too—sisters fight, you know?), and parents who thought the world of their daughters. My MC and her father were close.

    However, after the car wreck, everything changed. The accident shattered my MC and her father on an individual level, but it also shattered their relationship too. Her father with-drew from ‘family-life’ in the weeks after, and threw himself into his work as King. He stopped spending ‘social/family’ time with her, leading her to believe he blamed her for the accident. My MC had a seizure (she has a medical condition; epilepsy, really) which she believes caused the driver to panic and veer off the road. In actual fact, there was a mechanical fault with the car, and that’s what caused the driver to loose control. Her father would shut her down if she ever tried to talk to him about it, and so she was never really told what happened exactly. He assumed she knew. And she does find this out later on in the story.

    Even armed with this info, my MC still believes her father is angry with her for surviving when her mother and sister did not. Moreover, my MC believes that her father considers that the wrong child died. Her sister was his hair (and in some ways, his favourite—although he did not neglect my MC before the wreck, or outright show favouritism), and she believes he would have preferred her sister have lived rather than my MC. My MC’s misplaced belief is further fuelled by her father refusing to talk about what happened, and not really talking about her mother or her sister at all anymore; in reality, it hurts him to talk about them; he’s still very much in the grieving process, (and not really dealing) and can’t find his way passed his grief to fully acknowledge his daughter’s need for her father to comfort her and help her deal too.

    Their relationship goes from bad to worse; barely letting my MC grieve for her mom and sister, he pushes her sister’s royal duties (and lifestyle, really) onto my MC—she’s now the sole heir to his throne (‘only one kid left, no back up plan’ as my MC puts it)—which is a life my MC isn’t ready for and never wanted in the first place; she had always been content to let her sister go on to rule. And so with this forced lifestyle and the King’s new attitude towards his daughter (and life in general), she rebels, causing her father even more grief. The two constantly argue, and my MC reaches the point where she doesn’t particularly like her father (she may love him, but she doesn’t like him). Still giving herself; feeling like she’s lost her mom, her sister AND her father, she’s finding her new duties and responsibilities overwhelming. When she tries to talk to her father about it, he’s not interested; it’s her birthright, her destiny, and her duty, as far as he’s concerned. My MC reaches breaking point, and two and a half months after the accident, she bolts; attempting to run from her problems. She flees from her world, into ours.

    Regarding the King before the wreck; He was always a great dad to my MC and her sister when they were growing up. He adored his wife. He put his family before his duties as King—as much as he realistically could—his family came first. But, after the wreck, he did a complete 180, and now, arguably, it’s the other way around. When this happened, it was a shock to my MC, and really, the last thing she needed. She needed her father. Not her King.

    My MC’s father isn’t a bad guy. In the wake of the accident, the loss of his wife and child just devastated him to the core; really, he’s lost in his own pain, and finds solace in his work as King. And that’s what stems from him pushing my MC too far too fast in what he wants for her. My MC’s sister always wanted the life her father had given her, she loved the spotlight, and it frustrates him that my MC can’t understand that this is her duty now. He’s so caught up in his work, and himself, he can’t really see her ‘needs’ or 'wants'.

    And then, she runs away. This not only angers him, but the guy is worried sick about his kid too. He may be in a bad place, and his relationship with his daughter has broken down, but he still loves her—he’s just hasn’t done very good job of showing it, really. She’s missing for about 8 months. He has his guards and officials looking for her everyday, but nothing. Finally, she’s found and dragged home—and this is where my story starts.

    If you’re still with me—yeah, I rambled, sorry—any ideas on how to play this?

    Now, he’s going to react a little differently from ‘everyday’ parents (which is why I’m having a little trouble here) because he’s a King, with responsibilities. And, to a degree, she has responsibilities too.

    I understand this totally depends on the character of the father, but, I’m looking for ideas on what happens between them when she’s first returns home, and in the days after. From his POV, how might he react? What might he say? What questions would he have for her?

    Obviously, he’s going to want to know why she left and where she’s been. He’s going to ask about her health too. She has a seizure every so often—it’s not bad epilepsy, it’s very mild (it’s sort of a fantasy-type-epilepsy condition), but it plays a part in the story.

    One thing he’ll face which normal fathers would not, is by running away my MC put the kingdom (as small is it is) at risk. The King’s enemies could have grabbed her to apply pressure on him, to control him. He didn't know where she was; if his enemies claimed they had her—even if they did’t—he would have had to assume they did.

    Other than that... ehhh... I'm stuck with this part of the plot.
  2. Xatron

    Xatron Contributing Member

    Jan 30, 2013
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    There are many ways you can play this out.
    If you plan to have a conflict with your MC's father later down the road then you can't make him act the best way.
    He could be consumed with pride so much that it overshadows his worry and affection, and he punishes her restricting her inside the palace or putting her under 24/7 surveillance.
    He could display a fit of anger, striking her or saying something that cuts to the bone like "if only your sister was alive" or something.
    He could threaten to punish/execute/imprison every person that aided her during the time she was running and demand she reveals their identities.
    He would repeatedly comment on how she put everyone at risk and she doesn't care about anything but herself, and he might arrange for her to marry another prince or noble so that he won't have to deal with her anymore.

    If you want them to reconcile then he should act considerately and affectionately.
    He would hug her and ask for her forgiveness for pushing her away to the point that she had to run from him.
    He could ask her about the time she was away, how she had survived and who had helped her so that he can convey his gratitude.
    He would try to persuade her that her running away did in no way harm the kingdom so she shouldn't worry about that.
    He could try to make amends asking about everything that piled up to make her run away, and then try to make up for the lost time.

    Ultimately it all comes down to what you intend to do further down the road with your story. If you are not looking for conflict between your MC and her father, or you plan to have her father killed or dethroned or something later in the story, then you should follow something along the lines of the 2nd set of suggestions. If you want to have them collide then the more cruel first set would be in order.
  3. -alex-

    -alex- Member

    Dec 23, 2011
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    Thank you very, very much for the replies and suggestions, they are a great help!

    Yes, I need the conflict. Part of the story is the conflict between them—which is resolved in the end. But, for a good part of the story, say 2/3 of it, there is conflict and tension between them.

    I don’t want him to be cruel to her—although she may think he’s being cruel—but, I think I need to work it so he’s being strict, and perhaps even unfairly so, even though what she did was pretty selfish—even if she did have her own reasons.

    His character right now (still sort of lost in his own grief) is like this:
    When he’s working, he forces himself to put on a good face, like I said; he’s kind of thrown himself into his work, to take his mind off it. Only the few people who are around him (his advisors and guards?) day-in-day-out know how badly he’s still taking this. He’s telling himself he has to get on with his life; he has to lead his race, and his daughter should be doing the same—this is why he has pushed everything on her, but, emotionally (in private), he can't; he’s a mess—and he knows it. And he’s angry about it. He tries to work past it, he may even feel he’s made more progress than he actually has—which is bad.

    When it comes to his daughter, he doesn’t have the luxury of that good face. He can’t fool her. He tries it; he tends to talk to her at a distance, like one of his Council members or subjects. Distancing himself from her, even if that’s not a conscious decision he’s made, means less pain, perhaps? A lesser reminder of the family and life he used to have?

    My MC believes she understands why he’s distancing her; he blames her, end of story. And she feels that he should blame her, it’s her fault. But, even so, some part of her is angry with him too—and this is what probably stems her rebellion to some degree—she’s angry he abandoned her when she needed him most. He’s the parent; he should be making things better. And so, yeah, selfishly, she pushes his buttons.

    Like I said, she’s messed up, he’s messed up, and right now they’re like oil and water. They’re fanning each others flames.
  4. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    ultimately, it doesn't matter what any other father may have done in the circumstances, or what any of us suggest, because what has to determine your course is what will work best plot-wise...

    so you must let your storyline determine how he reacts... and none of us know the plot...
  5. The Tourist

    The Tourist Banned

    Mar 27, 2012
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    I don't have to guess, I know.

    I took off on my bike for three days. My dad heard me come home because my straight pipes rattled his coffee cup.

    I came in, he looked up and said (and I quote), "You smell like a brewery."

    I looked down at his plate and said, "Any of that meatloaf left?"

    Feel free to use it. My father has passed on, and I no longer eat meatloaf.
    1 person likes this.

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