I Need Some Bad Parenting Advice

Posted: June 4, 2014 in Writing
Tags: , , , , , , ,

bad parenting

This is an odd kind of cry for help.

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog, or even occasional readers, should be familiar with my situation and the book I am co-writing with my daughter. If you are new here (welcome!) this should get you started.

We’ve reached a very critical part of the story, the part where everything looks bleakest and our young heroine, 12-year-old Cat, is on the brink of giving up her dream and letting the bad guy win. And it all stems from her discovery that her fae (fairy-tale creature) heritage that has made her special and started this whole adventure turns out to be this: Her dad is a troll.

Not a slob who farts during dinner and butts into private conversations, but a descendent of actual trolls. He has a big nose, a pot belly, he’s kind of clumsy, and he likes to make things out of clay. Interbred with humans and a few generations removed from his club-wielding ancestors, but a troll nevertheless. He happens to be out of town when Cat has this revelation and her world falls apart, so she has a few days to really wallow in the new tragedy her life has become by the time Dad comes home.

And this is where I need your help.

In The Last Princess, Cat and her dad are very close. She has always wanted to be just like him, and in fact likes most of the same things he does. And she’s a little tomboyish because of it. Her dream is to be chosen as the princess of all the hidden fae still living in our world, and the fact that it turns out she is troll-born utterly ruins her chances and her dream. And she hates her father for that.

These characters are loosely based on my own daughter and myself, however she and I don’t have quite the same relationship. My daughter takes after her mother much more than me (thank God), and although we like many of the same things, we disagree on just as many. Strongly. The thing is, as far as I know I have never ruined her dreams and she has never hated me. So neither of us really have the life experience to draw from in order to write this aspect of the story.

How do I phrase this, delicately? I need to hear from any of you who are the victims of bad parenting, or who are themselves parents who have done something – real or imagined – that has caused your child to hate you, if only briefly (hopefully only briefly!). I’m not talking about abuse or neglect, but that moment that happens in a tween’s life when his or her parents’ mere existence breaks their fragile heart. A betrayal of trust, a moment of tragic uncoolness, the “I can’t believe I’m related to you” phase.

I want to get inside Cat’s head, and I want the reader to really experience it when she tells her dad, “I hate you!”  What does that feel like?  Bonus question: What does it feel like to be the dad in this situation, who has no idea what he’s done?

Go ahead, pile it on; I can take it. And I promise to keep it on the down-low.


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