Monday, March 15, 2010

Relationships in Writing

Since I have spent so much time thinking and writing about Landry and Talia in the last few posts, I want to share with you my "relationship guidelines". I picked these up from a dear friend of mine who has shared heartbreaking things with me. (If you are reading, I love you! and not just because your willingness to share has made me a better writer. You have taught me to work harder to keep my relationship strong and never take those I love the most for granted. Hugs, kisses and prayers to you always.) These are words of wisdom that I think we all need to hear at least once in our lives if we want to be successful in our relationships. It is a bonus that they are great tools for writing.

What makes a relationship work?
  1. The need to feel pursued by the other and cared about. Each needs to feel like the other can't live without them, they are the top priority in their lover's life. This doesn't mean they can't be a part or spend time with other friends, but they always come home because that is where their heart truly is.
  2. The  need to feel protected. Generally we think of the man protecting the woman. Maybe we think physical protection, but I think both need to feel protected emotionally as well as physically. Each needs to feel that their thoughts, emotions, fears, heart, whatever is shared is safe with the other. Loyalty, trust, understanding or at least a desire to understand.
  3. The need for adventure or a break from routine. Everyone needs a little spice in their lives to remind them what it feels like to be alive. Get out and do or learn  something new together. People grow and change all the time. It is a good thing, but for a relationship to stay strong, some of that growth needs to happen together or you find yourself on different paths. Sometimes this is easier to do in writing than in real life.
  4. The need to feel attractive and unique. Who wants to feel ugly or be stereotyped?
You can use these things to show why a relationship is working in your story, and to show examples to strengthen or explain why a relationship is starting. And the best part about this list? Work it in reverse and you get a country song. Ooops! Did I write that? (Seriously, I listen to some country music and really like a lot of it, but...) To add conflict to your story, simply remove one or two of these things. If you want the relationship to work add these elements, if not take them out. Just remember to show us, not tell us.

Note: This post was a lot better when I first thought about writing it, but I waited to long and forgot some of the best and wittiest comments. Isn't that how it goes?

4 comments:

  1. I love your note... I'm bad at that too, where I have a fabulous idea and never seem to get all I want on paper. I will say that your post is still fantastic!!! Thanks for walking through relationships! Always ready to learn or refresh up on my skills!!

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  2. Now, now, chin up! This is a great post.

    I especially like what you said in #2--that protection in the emotional realm is so important to good relationships. The ability to be a trustworthy, insightful, good listener is what guys love in the smart, shy girl. We as writers need to understand that dynamic and work it into our stories. Boys need their soft side nurtured and protected from ridicule.

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  3. In fact, I liked this so much, I have an award for you over on my blog!

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  4. Really good list - and I particularly like the idea of taking away one of those elements to create conflict.

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