September 6th, 2016

  • mbarker

Writing Excuses 11.36: The Elemental Relationship

Writing Excuses 11.36: The Elemental Relationship


Key Points: Relationship stories where readers are driven to turn pages to find out how the relationship develops. Often denial, reluctance, exploration, acceptance. Braiding roses -- show us the roses, show us the thorns, then show us how they fit together. The Act 2 disaster, where the relationship worsens, can break your heart. Beware the idiot plot, where 5 seconds of conversation would solve the problem. Make the problem real, and let them work to solve it. The conflict often reflects outside pressures. The key moment for a relationship is when the characters support each other. The conflict sets that up, makes you wonder if they will. Then you cheer when they do, when they step up and fight for the relationship and each other. Look for the media naranja, the half orange, that completes your character. What are the gaps, holes, and thorns that need to be fitted together? Make sure that the characters are ones that the reader likes!

Brandon's moment: We look at the elemental genres to give you basic components to use in building stories. Stories are often based around crisis moments. But to get to the crisis moment, make the right promises, in tone and progress, so that the moment fits.

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[Brandon] All right. Let's call it here and go to our homework. Dan, you have some homework for us.
[Dan] I do. I want you to go out and grab a romantic comedy of some kind. One you've seen before, one you've never seen, it doesn't matter if it's good or bad. Watch it, and take notes as you go. What are the things… How do the characters meet? What do they do that helps each other, what do they like about each other, what do they not like about each other? Where are those gaps and missing pieces and thorns that define that relationship? Just take notes as you watch and see what that teaches you about how the story is constructed.
[Brandon] All right. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses. Now go write.