This week I want to talk about relationship expectations in literature. A lot of the time we follow a basic formula of boy meets girl, they like each other and then things go from there. Sometimes the boy is more into the relationship and making it work than the girl or vice versa. No one ever really talks about how people think they will be like in a relationship versus what they’re like in reality.
I’ve personally have had a lot of experience with this lately. I thought I was going to want to hang out every once in a while, remain firmly independent, and not have to rely on my partner very much. Well it came as a complete shock to me, when I want to hang out with them as much as I can and that I rely on my partner for a lot of things – though I’m sure he’s unaware of it. I still have a lot of my independence still, but I do find that I am having to make compromises to make sure we’re both happy. I am by no means complaining about any of this, I just noticed it was a big difference between what I thought was going to happen and what is actually going on in the relationship.
I find that a lot of authors don’t go into the thought processes behind a character getting into a relationship or when they are in one. It generally follows the “everything is going alright” plot line with a fight here and there to make you think the relationship might end. You generally get the feelings behind the character, but what your rarely find is the little scenes real people generally think about or rehearse in their heads. Or simply put, their expectations on how things are going to go. I also find this to be more interesting than the author telling me how the character is feeling as it’s being shown to me.
This is important to character development. It shoes us how your character sees themselves for and it shows us how they act in private versus in the public sphere. For example, your character is mad/hates their boss and fantasizes about throwing them out of the twenty-second story window, but in reality tows the line and kisses that boss’s butt. I also find that having your characters think about what is going to happen can be a great source of humor and it tells us that the character wants to be more than what they are – which is a huge human trait (I find at least). It shows their hopes and dreams.
So, my advice is to incorporate the character’s internal narrative into stories as long as it adds something to the character and the plot. Make sure you’re not just throwing this in for no good reason. As a result of doing this, you can add some humor, character development and it makes the character more human. Plus isn’t it just great when things don’t turn out the way you – or the character – thinks it’s going to turn out?
Until next week.