This past weekend was Father’s Day and we celebrated at a gathering with good food, cool drinks, and, of course, copious gifts. The usual suspects were there, some related, some not, a group that has evolved over time. Not strictly family by precise definition, but a family in reality.
The day naturally got me to thinking about story.
My favourite stories are those where there is a strong element of family. There may be a cast of disparate characters in the beginning, but by the end they’ve formed a cohesive unit that works together to solve the mystery or ensure the happily-ever-after or whatever the end goal is.
In my own story, I’m trying to build that same sense of family. My hero is very much a loner and not so good at being part of a team at the beginning of the story. As things progress, however, he slowly adds people to his circle and learns to rely on them until he’s got a strong family behind him, helping trap the antagonist and ensure everything works out for the best.
The book is the first in a series and some of the characters in this story make appearances in the others. Those are the kinds of stories I like best – where I know when I’ve finished a book there is a very good chance I’ll get a glimpse of the characters in a later story so I can see how they’re doing , like catching up with old friends. Jo Beverley’s Company of Rogues stories fall into this category, as do Jenny Crusie’s What the Lady Wants and Strange Bedpersons.
Family plays a part in the shows I watch on television as well. Lately it has been Grey’s Anatomy (when I’m not working or writing, of course). It’s not the blood and gore and hospital drama that has caught my interest, but rather all the characters and how they go from being strangers at the beginning of the series to a kind of family (in some cases, real family) as the show progresses. Members come and go, they get together and break up, but through it all they’re family. Messy and dysfunctional at times, but family nonetheless.
Sadly, I’ve just finished the last episode of Grey’s so until the season recommences this fall I’m without a “fictional family.” Any suggestions for books, movies, or shows to help me bridge the gap?