Write Your Novel Step by Step (104)
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 104 ~



Structural Relationship Growth – Act Two


Structural relationships are based on the natures of your characters as archetypes such as protagonist, antagonist, Tempter, Wise Woman, Fool, etc.


Earlier, you described the nature of the structural relationships you wish to explore among your characters and how you will reveal them to your audience in act one.  Now you must determine how you want those relationships to change as the story unfolds in act two.


Since archetypes must maintain their structural roles if the dramatic structure is to be sound, any growth in structural relationships must come from the degree of intensity of the relationship under a progression of experiences and situations.


For example, suppose a protagonist has a structural relationship with a Wise Woman archetype.  The protagonist will always drive the plot forward when no one else has the motivation.  But how strongly will he or she be driven?  What if a major obstacle has all but obliterated the team and the future looks bleak.  Certainly the protagonist is not likely to jump up with pompoms and cheer on the troops!  Rather, he or she would express the need to continue, and the reasons why, but perhaps in a subdued manner.


The Wise Woman might have a brilliant insight to offer that clinches the argument made by the protagonist.  Or, she might have deep thoughts that would argue against the protagonist.  Or, she might even have some almost stupid comment like, "It is darkest before the dawn."  In that case, the protagonist might comment with somber humor that this advice wasn't up to the Wise Woman's usual standards.  She might then say, "Well, they can't all be gems..."


In this example, both protagonist and Wise Woman maintain their structural natures, but how the relationship grows between them has many possibilities.  Just because the protagonist is always for the goal doesn't mean anyone else has to be.  And the level of intensity of each character's archetypal function can fluctuate with the events over the course of the story.


So, what you need to do here is refer to the relationships you have already planned, consider the progression of your plot, and then describe the growth of each structural relationship from its initial state as established in act one through the tribulations of act two.