This month’s theme is Love: It’s Not Just For The Ladies. I’m going to be looking into all kinds of love and how our characters feel, express and reject it. Starting with this week’s writing prompt.
Write three, linked mini-stories about two people who love each other.
Each moment illustrating one of the three aspects of enduring love: Intimacy, Passion & Commitment.
Each section highlights a different moment.
The overall story charts their relationship.
- I would argue that you could write a platonic relationship using these ideas, as well as a romantic one. “Passion” doesn’t have to be sexual. It can be that infatuation you feel when a friendship is new and really clicking.
- You can think of the three aspects as points of a triangle (the strongest foundational shape in architecture) or as a mixing-board slider, where you’re adjusting the levels of each, to come up with unique blend that is your characters’ relationship in the moment, and over the long term
- For a familial relationship the ‘passion’ part might be laughter or anger and it will be less of an important aspect than the other two.
- Intimacy means those moments where one person really knows you. It can be shown by characters finishing each other’s sentences; understanding that when the other person says “I’m fine” they really mean “I’m hurting but I don’t want to admit it.”
- You can show intimacy by allowing your characters to create a bond while working on a shared interest or project together.
- Commitment, in the short term, is the moment where one character decides to do something for the other, or remain with the other, when it’s not strictly necessary.
- You could also explore the effects of long-term commitment, when characters have shared plans and achievements.
- To write the three interconnected tiny stories, as I suggest, consider giving yourself a word-count (100-999 words each) or imposing other limits on your stories (only two characters can appear in each scene; only use one setting; allow no backstory, only the conversation that’s happening in the moment; write it all in dialogue or as a series of letters/texts)
- Before you start writing, think about what kind of relationship your three stories will describe. What ‘arc’ will the relationship have over the course of your stories. For example, if your characters start out in a kind of parent/child or teacher/student relationship will it still be that kind of relationship at the end? If your hero sees himself as a stud collected notches on his bedpost, does he still see his love interest the same way in your third story? If one character is very nurturing in your first story, is that still the relationship dynamic at the end, and does that nurturing still travel in the same direction?
The idea of these three points of the triangle adding up to ‘love’ comes from Cornell professor Robert J. Sternberg.
For more on character development, read the StoryADay Character Essentials page.
Use the StoryADay Short Story Framework to map out what might happen in your story. Don’t have a copy of the Short Story Framework? Request it here.)
If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.
Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!