THE POWER OF FAMILY BY SYNDI POWELL
Romeo and Juliet. Fiddler on the Roof. Pride and Prejudice. Anne of Green Gables. Even Frozen. What do these all have in common? They're about families. Whether it's two families in conflict or an orphan searching for a family of her own, these stories come down to the search for one's self through the framework of familial ties.
Why are we drawn to stories that explore families? Perhaps some of it is because there's so much material in our own families that we can relate. Maybe some of it is the need to belong, and within the pages of a book we do belong to that family. Possibly it's because we want to escape our own family drama and live out someone else's.
Whatever the reason, readers (and writers) love family stories. Even if the family is not a part of the main plot, they are still present. Sometimes, they are a part of the main character's motivation or conflict. They can influence the hero's behavior and his choices. Our characters don't exist in a bubble, so often we explore the family dynamic to mine information of who our character is, but especially why he is the way he is.
And family doesn't necessarily mean blood relatives. At times, it's the family the hero and heroine creates. In my upcoming Hope Center books, my three heroines create a support system to help them cope with their breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. They become as close as sisters, celebrating in the good times and holding hands in the difficult ones. And outside of these three women, they have other families: ones they were born in as well as those they marry into. This web of family ties becomes a community that these women can rely on when things get tough. And they always get tough.
The power of family has always drawn me into stories. I may have grown up in a good family, but there was definitely plenty of drama and has provided me with plenty of story ideas (with the names changed, of course). As I look for my next story ideas, I think I'll explore my family and create a new fictional one. Because family ties make great stories.