Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Breakup Tension

I recently saw a Marie Claire article online (sorry no link) about the seven worst types of breakups. I'm sure the article was written for those who might break up, but naturally I immediately applied it to fictional situations. I see these seven ways to break a couple up as a menu of delicious conflict. Yum!

Note: Marie Claire listed these from shortest recovery time to longest recovery time, and I've kept that order.

The mutual breakup
Minimal conflict for your characters initially, but could be useful in a story where you want to make your character hurt later on, after he or she realizes that although they may have gone their separate ways amicably, that was sooooo the wrong decision. Ouch! Pain!
The circumstantial breakup
Characters want to stay together, but distance or situation keeps them apart. Or maybe family and friends don't approve. This is delicious because it's bittersweet and that can be exquisitely painful. I love it because you can have fun with what isn't being said. And I think we all know it's really your character's fault.

The ultimatum
When a character says, “do this, or I’m leaving,” but the other person isn’t willing to do it. This can vary in nastiness. Let's hope it's very nasty indeed

The something someone said breakup
This is a great one because whatever someone said that caused your characters to break up, there's going to be a lot to answer for. Maybe even some fisticuffs!

The betrayal
I love this one because the potential for devastation is massive depending on your character's experience level in life. People cheat all the time, so make the destruction to your character's lives complete or it'll be ho-hum.

The first love breakup
The first time you're dumped is the hardest. Does your character ever really get over it? I hope not!

The blind side
Oh yes yes yes. This is the best one. The breakup comes out of nowhere and your character is going to have to a) get over it, b) find out why it happened, and c) mostly likely undergo radical growth by the time he or she is over it.

Bonus! For added instruction, see this list of the stages of overcoming a breakup. Take the advice with a grain of salt because you probably don't ever want your character to get over a breakup, not if you want them to suuuuuffffffffeer!
Can you add any painful situations? Do any of your characters break up using the methods above?


Tina Lynn said...

I think I make my characters go through most every one of these. I know it may seem like overkill, but there is just so much going on between these two it really is insane. The first one is thought to be mutual by the one doing the leaving. Little does he know she's totally gone for him. Oops. That stung a bit.

Sierra Godfrey said...

Sounds good to me, Tina. That's seven nasty breakups between one set of characters! Awesome.

Lee Ee Leen said...

The blind side tends to get used alot; coincidence is used to get characters into trouble, but never out of trouble...

Travener said...

The life-just-unravels breakup that sneaks up on you.

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Sappy breakup scenes are my favorite. I can't wait to read about the stages of getting over it, since my mc needs mucho help in that department!

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

My characters go through the circumstantial, the something someone said breakup, and an almost betrayal break up all in about three chapters, lol.

Sierra Godfrey said...

Cool guys, I love that you're combining the hurt!
Mine just do circumstantial.

Meghan Ward said...

Are there any GOOD types of breakups? What's left besides these seven?

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