Sunday, May 27, 2012

What to give for Father’s Day?

How about travel—to another place and time

Books are great gifts. For a few dollars, they provide hours of entertainment that can be enjoyed anywhere. A good book sheds life’s tensions as it transports the reader to another place and time. Of course, I’m biased. I write books and hope you’ll pick one of mine as a Father’s Day gift. But even if you don’t, all books bring unique pleasure. 

Here’s a tip on how to give a really appreciated gift. Think about the interests of your father or grandfather. If you give a book that matches their hobby or genre preference, then it will show that you have put thought into the gift to make it personal.

What about books in this age of e-Readers? First, a Kindle or other e-Reader is a great gift in itself. If your father already owns an e-Reader, you can gift a specific book. Actually the recipient is not restricted to the selected title because the amount of money can be used to buy anything. I buy so many books for my Kindle that I personally appreciate it when my kids send me an Amazon gift card. Since they live across the country, it saves them money because shipping has gotten expensive. To many it may seem impersonal, but except for writing, reading is my greatest pastime. Besides, I’ll get the personal touch from the phone call.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Heroes and Villains

Part 6: Resolution with Redemption

It doesn’t always have to end badly for villains. Some great stories conclude with redemption. This doesn’t mean the protagonist doesn’t still have a fight. Stories without a struggle don’t attract readers or viewers. This is why redemption usually comes at the very end of the story. The most well-known example is Darth Vader. Up to the very last moment the audience believes Vader will kill Luke Skywalker. The outlaw Ben Wade in the movie versions of 3:10 to Yuma is another example of an action story where a villain finds redemption.

Antagonist redemption is tricky to pull off because the protagonist needs a bitter foe right up to the climax of the story. This is why redemption is used more in literary fiction. The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe is an example of redemption in a literary work, except it would be more correct to say that Flanders was an antihero rather than an antagonist. Raskolnikov in Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment is another antihero who is really a bad guy until he fesses up to his misdeeds. Edmund in Shakespeare’s King Lear is rotten almost to the very end. In my mind, these are really stories where the antagonist has the leading role and the protagonist is the inner self constantly being pushed down until it finally struggles to the surface to award redemption to our antihero.