Writing Fiction From A Father’s Point Of View, by Sam Stephens
When I had a son, my world changed. Not just in the metaphorical fluffy-clouds-and-rainbows kind of way that people usually talk about when they mention their kids. I’m talking about the fears that now nibble at the edges of your dreams, the minute shifts in perception.
Yes, I’ve come to realise the world is a dangerous place, and everything is trying to kill you.
When you’re a single man, a driver who has failed to learn the fine art of using a blinker is just a fool. But when you’re a father, they’re a maniac strapped to a metal case of pure evil that barely misses slamming you off a cliff with your child screaming in the backseat.
When you’re a single man, a little bit of kitchen cross-contamination with some raw chicken and some salad can lead to throwing your guts up for a few hours at around 1:30am. Throw a family into the mix and suddenly you’ve become a sociopath responsible for familial homicide.
When you’re a single man, catching a cold is like taking a shower. You’re vaguely aware of its occurrence but it doesn’t have enough of an impact on your life to become memorable. But when you have a child, a cold is a flesh eating bacteria that will chew through a set of tiny lungs and burst out of their chest cavity in the matter of hours.
Yes, having a son changed my world. And by doing so, it also changed my writing. Steve Rossiter actually picked this up long before I realised: there is a vein of a protagonist protecting their family that runs through the majority of my stories.
My novel is no exception. Jimmy Cain is a retired black-ops agent, but when one day his son is snatched from him, he’ll let nothing stand in his path to find his son and make the kidnappers pay.
It’s a story of love, hurt, justice, and revenge.
Writing from a father’s point of view for me is now easy: I take a story idea and I ask not what would I do in this situation, but instead I ask what do I wish I could do. This usually leads to guns blazing, explosives detonating, blood splattering, and more often than not, some kind of decapitation.
So to all the parents out there that suddenly find themselves responsible for another human being’s life I say to you: I know your darkest fears, because they’re the same as mine. And they are the fuel that drives my writing.