Write Your Novel Step by Step (Home Page)

Write Your Novel
Step by Step


By Melanie Anne Phillips
Creator of StoryWeaver

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~ Step 80 ~



Emotional Relationships


Emotional relationships begin with a "baseline" and then evolve.  You will need to establish how your characters feel about one another at the beginning of your story.  Later, in the Storytelling stage, you'll describe the growth of these emotional relationships over the course of the story.


Both characters in a relationship need not be present to establish how they connect.  You might give your readers a look at one character's room where he keeps a score of framed pictures of the second character, his female co-worker, in a little shrine.  


Then, you describe the second character's room where there is but a single picture of the first character which has been made into a dartboard.  It is obviously well used as evidenced by the great quantity of dart holes.  There are three darts in it as another slams in to join it, thrown by the second character.


Or, one character might write a story about the other for a newspaper or a school report.  A photo album might show two people in a series of pictures over the years.


In Citizen Kane, the relationship between Kane and his wife is established by a series of vignettes over the years in which the size of their dinner table grows, moving them farther and farther away from each other.


Of course, in real life most emotional relationships are not a single melody but a rich and complex symphony.  You may want to develop a different specific means of revealing each aspect of a complex emotional relationship, or you might prefer to have a single illustration that reveals the complexity all at once.


Again, even if you can't think of an inventive reveal now, at least put in a placeholder example that you can fall back on if the Muse fails you.  Make sure that the audience is absolutely made aware of every important emotional relationship among your characters.


In this step, then, describe how you will reveal to your readers the emotional relationships that exist among your characters.  Use specific story scenes or moments.