Day 6 - Writing Relationships
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Relationships are tricky – not just in real life, but in writing as well. We essentially have a relationship of some description with everyone that we meet – and certainly anyone that we meet more than once. I was shopping in Tesco during the October holidays and spoke with so many people I knew – ranging from current pupils to one of the conductors on the train which was a part of my commute eighteen months ago.
These relationships can be difficult to recreate in literature. We tend to dwell on the meaningful, and they are tricky enough! But how often are we writers guilty of neglecting those people who are important ‘friendly faces’?
When I’m writing established relationships, I tend to make it all about inference. Think about introducing, if appropriate, a nickname for one of the characters. Or what are you inferring if the teenager in your YA manuscript calls their parents by their first names? It automatically says something about the relationship that your character has with their parents which, in a YA novel, is probably going to be quite important.
What about if your main character says to someone “I booked a table at that restaurant you love”?
Another key feature of writing relationships is that the relationships we write have to reflect the relationships we have experienced. That doesn’t necessarily mean we have to have experienced them ourselves, but I do think you have to have witnessed it at close quarters. Even so, I would suggest focussing on what you know – those are the relationships which will leap naturally off the page and grip your reader.