September 30th, 2016

  • mbarker

Writing Excuses 11.39: Elemental Relationships Q&A, with Greg van Eekhout

Writing Excuses 11.39: Elemental Relationships Q&A, with Greg van Eekhout


Q&A Summary:
Q: What is your favorite way to establish relationships? Is it through dialogue or is it through background or is it through narrative? How is it?
A: Dialogue, because it can quickly establish the relationship. Action, because it shows characters that know each other well.
Q: How do you recover when a relationship between a hero and a supporting character starts to feel forced?
A: Throw something in that messes up expectations. Banter.
Q: How do you show a best friend relationship?
A: The same as for a romantic relationship, intimacy in dialogue and a degree of physical comfort with each other. Leave out the gaze. Best friends stay together even when they fight. Best friends are the ones who are still there after everyone else leaves.
Q: When doing romance, how do you decide to move fast or slow?
A: It depends on the kind of book. Erotica? Jump in fast and stay there. Others, much more slowly.
Q: Do you try to make the nature of the relationship between characters clear, or do you often leave things to subtext? Do you use different techniques to write different types?
A: Yes. Relationships in Schlock Mercenary depend on whether people like working together, and on relative rank. How close characters are governs how much subtext you use.
Q: How do you approach writing a relationship with a transsexual character without making it stiff or unnatural?
A: Deferred. Talk to people who have primary experience.
Q: What are your favorite relationships to write?
A: Happy marriages. Functional families. New friendships. Prickly antagonists. Working relationships where characters are discovering each other's competencies.
Q: How do I write a starting relationship, a friendship or things between two characters that the reader doesn't even know well yet? How does someone start off with that?
A: What do the two characters need and want? Similar, so they work together, or opposed, so they work against each other? Either way, use banter as they explore how they are going to interact.
Q: How do you transform love into hate and vice versa?
A: Time. Money. Betrayal.
Q: When writing a love triangle, how do you keep from making it obvious the final couple ahead of time?
A: Make them both plausible choices.
Q: Recommendations for books that focus on familial friend relationships rather than romance.
A: The witches in Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Mother-daughter in A Wrinkle In Time series Nancy Drew and her dad, Monica Mars and her dad.
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[Brandon] Well, why don't we end with a writing prompt instead? Greg, you've got a writing prompt for us.
[Greg] Yeah. How about take a look at the actual place that you live, the city or the neighborhood, the general region. Find some source of magic that is specific to that location that if your story were taken somewhere else, taking place someplace else, the magic would have to be different. Something endemic to where you live.
[Brandon] All right. So, thank you, audience at ComicCon.
[Brandon] Thank you, Greg van Eekhout.
[Greg] Thank you guys. This is fun.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.