Reviving Relationships with Dinner and a Movie

Totally! You can imagine a single relationship developing like :
sworn enemies
working partners
whirlwind romance
old friends

The relationship throughline is all about how the relationship or relationships change and transform over the course of the story. Do you see how thinking about the relationship as it’s own thing makes it easier to think about these changes?


The idea of relationships as a boat gives a good starting point to think about relationships because it gives us a clear spatial image to latch onto, but is, I think, deficient in that it makes some assumptions that don’t always hold.

For instance, a physical boat would force us to be at the wave peaks and troughs (emotional ups and downs) at the same time, which isn’t always the case. And a physical boat doesn’t push us together or pull us apart (emotional distance). It’s the emotional wave that we are floating in, that moves over and through us, that lifts us up and down-not always in tandem-or that moves us closer or further from one another.


100% agree.

It’s such a tricky concept, especially for really linear people, that any foothold is helpful. It’s training wheels, for sure though.

Maybe thinking of closeness and separateness as ports and the conditions of the sea pushing them closer or further away helps extend the metaphor.

There’s a conflict between where the relationship wants to go, and what conditions force/will allow.

I think this is still probably too limiting and too linear though. When it comes to relationships, “nothing ever is, everything is becoming”.


This post is starting to remind me of something I heard a little while ago.

It’s a particular view of the world where everyone is connected by invisible strings. The string between two people can fray, decay, strengthen, lengthen, shorten, give or take slack, etc…, but it can never break. It’s often related to Fate or Destiny, but it inherently includes some ideas of a relationship as defined by Dramatica.

The string between two people would be a visual representation of a good portion of the relationship between them. If the metaphor were to be extended as to represent the emotional consonance or dissonance within the string, perhaps it could be made far more accurate.


What a great image. Beautiful.

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This made me think, and I thought of my father who left us in his 94th year and had served on the battleship South Dakota in WWII. Lots of complexity in that life. I’d say a relationship is the ocean.


Sorry to hear about your father. Sounds like he lived an incredible life.

This sounds super holistic, which means it’s probably a great way to think about the relationship throughline.

That said, as a really linear person, it kind of melts my brain. :smile:

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And to me, linear is what tells the story … haha. I told Dad, a few years before his passing, that I had read about a greatly paid baseball player, walking away from it all to join the navy at the start of WW2. “Yes, Bob Feller. Our ship played baseball with him, once.” “Wow, how did that happen?” “Our shipmen and his shipmen had a baseball game.” “Who won?” With a classic Dad look at me over his glasses, “Who do you think?”


I’d say the forces that act on the boat can move the relationship closer or apart.

The boat can get attacked. Storms happen. The relationship can spring a leak. Etc…

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Why is it that relationboats seek a degree of constancy.

Relationboats seek shape as well as no shape at the same time.

I loved Jim’s articles looking into different aspects of the RS. I’d always thought and felt a relationship as a character, another ‘person’ in the scene, being able to write its presence. I think maybe I have a holistic mindset-I couldn’t say for certain.

But the relationship, the space between the people, is that the RS? Is it similar as the negative space in drawing and composition? As my wife the art teacher keeps telling me. “See the negative space and you will see the subjects as they truly are, not as you think they are.”

So does the RS show the MC, and the IC, as they really are, and not as they, or the writer, thinks they are?


This is dead on. It’s the space between them.

The MC and IC are separate perspectives from the RS, with their own story points. They are related in a holistic sense within the whole big story (entire storyform) but I don’t think it’s a good idea to think of the RS as directly illuminating those perspectives.

EDIT: this concept actually applies better to how the RS is a counterpoint to the OS, kind of showing the alternate perspective to the OS struggles. (i.e. the same way that the IC shows the alternate perspective to MC.) But I think that is a pretty advanced concept and for me it’s something more easily felt than fully grasped.

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I have a holistic brain, too, maybe. Maybe, we’re the maybe universe … haha. Somehow, this reminds me of The Big Lebowski with Bridges and Goodman. I saw it for the first time, a few nights ago, and thought I would hate it (husband belly laughing the whole time, telling me about it over the phone. A big Steely Dan fan, he had just found a connection between them and the film). So, I surrendered to ‘watching’ it with him (i.e. while working on the laptop sitting by him), but then I actually did watch, shocked at how it came together and seemed solid … somehow … and left me with my mouth gaped open at the end. Maybe, it’s a string of RSs? The reveal seems a very effective, if sketched, OS. It might be fun to do an analysis of it, sometime.

I thought as much. It didn’t seem to fit to me that the RS is directly illuminating the MC and IC, as you put it in answering my pondering aloud question. It’s good to hear others’ thoughts.

Maybe, indeed! I saw that movie a long time ago, before encountering Dramatica or trying to write much of my own. I remember enjoying it, but that’s about all.

I wish I had time to do analysis. I wish I had time to watch more movies (other than with the kids)! All my free time is trying to write. Trying. Thank goodness for Dramatica and Subtext.

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It sounds like you left ‘trying’ behind a long time ago. I hear ongoing writing in your words.

I may be giving an analogy for a relationship story as opposed to a relationship. How I’m lookin at it, if the boat is the relationship, yes the boat can be attacked, spring a leak etc. and the boat would respond by changing from a 53 foot yacht to a two person rowboat, or a full sized battleship, or a tugboat or something.

A relationship is the space between people, but the RS, I think, is more about the changing of the space between people. For instance ‘we are in love and growing more so every day’ or ‘we are lifelong friends who are quickly becoming enemies’.

I agree it’s the change that creates the narrative.


A relationship is always growing and changing. The unchanging space between people would be a snapshot of a relationship. It leaves out the temporal view: vectors, degrees, presence, intensity. So a snapshot is an incomplete picture. If the space between us is a boat, that boat is either being weathered away or built up. If the space between us is a bungee, it’s either being stretched out or snapping back. If it’s a wave, it’s in constant motion.

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The holistic mind sees all :wink: how’s that NaNoWriMo coming?