How to Write a Break Up
By Sofie R. E.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Who is breaking up?
Is it your protagonist, who breaks up, or her partner? How will the person who breaks up choose to break up? In public? Via text? At the place where they first met? Is the break up a surprise or did they see it coming?
Moreover, what's their history?
Your characters history together is essential for how they'll break up. Is this their 10th break up? ...Or have they been together for 3 years?! Has she cheated on him several times before but they always ended up back together?
What's the reason?
Further than love or no love, there can be a thousand reasons for their break up. Maybe one of the partners is going abroad? Or your protagonist needs to focus on her career. Has he been blackmailed to break up? There can also be a thousand reasons for the other partner, like she just lost her job and needs the money from her partner, or maybe he's even afraid to be on his own?
What's the structure of the scene?
Does she break up with him in the park where they first met? Or is the break up a part of a fight? Is it dramatic, or quiet? What feelings are involved in the break up itself...sorrow, anger, or happiness?
Furthermore, how do they react?
It's important that the reactions are clear. Is she sad? Or does she start yelling? Or rather is she actually kind of relieved?
It's not only about how they react in the moment - but what about the long-term reaction? Is she at first relieved, but then devastated? Or does she get over him fast?
Break-up scenes tend to be clichés because we have read about ten thousand break ups before. Try to think of your characters - how would they break up? If your characters have a unique story together, then their break up is more likely to be unique.
Make it matter
The goal with a break up is to make the reader really feel the pain and frustration that the break up contains - so let the break up matter to your characters! An example of a failed break up is in After **SPOILER** where Tessa breaks up with Noah (even twice) and neither of the times she seems affected. **END OF SPOILER** In more relevant terms, it will not affect the readers either.
Make it clear why they are breaking up. It should matter for the direction of the plot or character and not just be a thing you use to add drama to your story.
Hope you've found some reasons to have your characters break up ;-) because if anything, it'll allow them to start anew with somebody else...or get back together at the end of your story (this is not a hint of course). Looking forward to reading more of your break ups!
Thanks to Sofie R. E. for writing this blog post and designing the banner!