How to Capture the Complex Relationships in Your Story
If you are anything like me, at any point in time, you have a million and one ideas for your work-in-progress floating around in your head. The first challenge is flushing out the best ones and the second is combining them into a story that captivates readers.
Do you sometimes feel like an unprepared defense lawyer struggling to make sense of how a character’s upbringing drove their actions? Or a mad philosopher mixing together different political ideologies that don’t quite congele into the new dystopian society you want to make? This process is hard, but here are some tips on how to get started.
Connect all of your ideas
In Lynit, Connections are our way of capturing the relationships between the various Story Elements that are consistent throughout the story. This means that the Connection between a parent and child would capture the important aspects of their backstory together. No matter what happens later in the story, whether these characters grow to love or hate each other, we still want to remember the context of their backstory. Now whenever either one of them are in a scene, you can refer to this relationship to inform their actions.
When you have multiple characters, a couple arcs, and a complex setting, keeping track of how they all influence each other can be as important to the story as how these elements individually develop throughout. You don’t need to have a mastermind vision of how everything works together, but you need to start with some important considerations.
3 Key Connections you want to create
1. Character to Character
Connections between Characters will help you understand how their relationships affect their feelings, their thoughts and most importantly, their decisions. Try not to use these Connections for trivial things, such as just noting who a character’s parents are or how they know someone, instead, focus on how they influence each other.
2. Character to Event and TSM (Themes, Setting, and Motifs)
Connecting characters to Events and TSMs is the quickest way to add depth to their personality. Be mindful of the key aspects of society that shaped the environment the characters grew up in. It may be details about how social status is structured, a defining event in their backstory, or how magic made life easy for them. The trick is to capture how these different elements affect the character, and dive deeper into their opinions on it. A character will be in harmony with certain things and in direct contrast to others. These nuances will make them come alive on the page.
3. TSM to TSM
Whether you are writing a space opera or a historical romance, the setting is a critical part of the story. Capturing how different aspects of the setting affect each other will help you understand complex societal and environmental interactions.
Michael Green is the Founder of Lynit. He started the company unofficially back in 2018 when he was deep in the trenches of editing his first book. He had 500 pages, a lot of characters, multiple plots, and many notes on possible changes. To make sense of everything, he created the first version of the tool. Then he realized that other writers might find value in it too and decided to share. Find out more at www.lynit.app.