Here’s a few tips to making a break up heart breaking for your readers and not only the characters:
1.- Make it slow. We all know the slow burn for getting together but breaking up can be just as slow. It starts with mild annoyances that grow into frustrations that turn to bickering that turn to shouts that turn to “some space” that turn to a “break” that turns to a break up.
2.- They do everything right. They listen to each other and try to understand, they go to couples therapy. They try to get the magic back by going to old date spots. They try everything they can think of to ensure the relationship works. But sometimes people are just too different, sometimes those differences don’t compliment one another in the right way.
3.- Make it hard for them to be together at all. Especially if there’s an established friend group or even worse if there are children. I love exes that can be friends in books, especially those that are slightly bickery but not much. But if you want it to hurt, show the awkward and painful first phase of a breakup. Show the formation of two sides, and a friend group breaking up or children having to chose their favourite.
4.- Show them struggling individually. Show the gaps once filled by the other now empty. Show them learning to live alone again. Show them having to do the task the other once helped them with. Show everything they lost because when you learn to live with another and that person leaves, you need to learn to live again.
This was a bit short. But I think those four points are powerful. Any more ideas?
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