Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Taking a Love Inventory Of Your Characters

By Bonnie Randall 

Part of the How They Do It Series (Monthly Contributor)

Any of you who follow my posts have become aware that I love to get into my character’s heads. I enjoy sifting through their mores and values to see where their choices and resulting conflicts come from when their stories get played out ‘on screen’.

The following is a worksheet I have adapted from an excellent Psychology Today article I saw on social media. It affords super potential for anyone crafting a romance (or who is crafting romance as a subplot) for it examines the minutiae of your character’s attitudes, beliefs, and values about love and connection. Executed interview-style, this inventory allows your character to say as much or as little as they like on each topic as most questions are open-ended. As a writing tool it can help you define such critical story elements as
  • Sexual tension
  • Romantic tension
  • Conflict
Remember—always ask your character ‘Why’? after any answer they deliver, but especially the answers that confound you. Example, from a male character: “Men think of women as…. “Machines who can do it all.”

What?! Why? You dive into this answer and your fella shares with you that he comes from a family of 4 other boys and a single Mom who held up every end of the family, from food to finances to feelings. She was both parents plus a doc, a secretary, a chauffeur, a breadwinner, a chef….WOW. Talk about cementing a male’s attitude about women. And will she ever be a hard act to follow for any other woman in his life.

Here goes and, as stated, a huge citing credit to Psychology Today. Please note that the supplemental questions in parenthesis are mine—and by all means add supplemental questions of your own as you see fit.

A Love Inventory

1. Men think of women as _______________.

2. Women think of men as _______________.

(Supplemental question for more depth: “Do men/women think this about you?”)

3. Relationships work out because the partners _______________.

4. Relationships fail because _______________.

5. Love is _______________.

(Supplemental question for more depth: “Have you ever been in love?”)

6. In order to have a great relationship, women must _______________.

7. In order to have a great relationship, men must _______________.

8. The hardest thing about an intimate relationship is _______________.

9. People fall in love because _______________.

10. The most important qualities of great male partners are _______________.

11. The most important qualities of great female partners are _______________.

(Supplemental question for more depth: “Do you feel you have any of these qualities? If no, why?”)

12. The most hurtful thing a man can do in a relationship is _______________.

13. The most hurtful thing a woman can do in a relationship is _______________.

(Supplemental question for more depth: “Have you ever done this in a relationship?” and “Has anyone ever done it to you?” Then, of course, who, when, where, etc)

14. What men most like is _______________.

15. What women most like is _______________.

(Supplemental question for more depth: “Are you like ‘most men’ or ‘most women’? Or do you like things that set you apart from the majority?”)

16. The most important lessons I’ve learned from relationships are _______________.

17. The adjectives I’d use to describe the perfect relationship are _______________.

18. In a relationship I cannot do without _______________.

19. The best attributes I bring to a relationship are _______________.

20. I would absolutely end a relationship if _______________.

Bonnie Randall is a Canadian writer who lives between her two favorite places—the Jasper Rocky Mountains and the City of Champions: Edmonton, Alberta. A clinical counselor who scribbles fiction in notebooks whenever her day job allows, Bonnie is fascinated by the relationships people develop—or covet—with both the known and unknown, the romantic and the arcane.

Her novel Divinity & The Python, a paranormal romantic thriller, was inspired by a cold day in Edmonton when the exhaust rising in the downtown core appeared to be the buildings, releasing their souls.

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About Divinity & The Python

Divinity - Where deception and desire both hide in the dark...

The Cards Forecast Work

Shaynie Gavin is so much more than the sexy siren who mixes cocktails at The Python. A carpenter with a business plan, Shaynie is trying to amass enough funds to launch her own dream - Divinity, a place where up-cycled furniture from the past is sold alongside Tarot readings forecasting the future - and all in a setting that could not be more perfect: a former funeral parlor. Shaynie's belief that Divinity is attuned with the passions, the loves, and even the lies of its departed souls, allow her to feel satisfied when the cards she draws there reveal Wands, the Tarot's symbol for work. And yet...Shaynie would be so grateful if the Tarot would also, just once, illuminate a Hellnight from her past. A lost evening whose scars still slither over her skin, Hellnight haunts Shaynie. Yet when she calls the question of that chilling evening into her deck...

The Cards Forecast Love

...and love appears in the form of pro hockey star Cameron Weste. Weste is haunted by scars and superstitions of his own, and he wants Shaynie's Tarot to answer far deeper questions than she first guesses this sexy Lothario to be capable of. Who knew Weste was this intense? The Tarot, apparently. And yet...

The Cards Forecast The Devil

When Cameron Weste lands in her life, a stalker surfaces too, dropping clues to a connection between Shaynie, Cameron, and her lost, brutal Hellnight. Suddenly every card warns of deception, and nowhere feels safe. Shaynie and Cameron have to fight for their love - and their lives - as The Devil, their stalker, is determined to turn the Death Card for them both.

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