A relationship plotline will be present in most stories. It will have a relationship arc and follow the principles of plot (according to relationships), but like any plotline, it also needs a sense of structure. It needs to be organized in a coherent way for the audience, so they can follow and appreciate the progression or deterioration of the relationship.
This article will help you structure the relationship plots you’re writing–whether the relationship features love interests, friends, family, allies, rivals, or even enemies (and everything in between).
Now . . . I admit, I’ve been debating a lot about how to write this article, if I should put forth a general foundational approach to the structure, or if I should get more specific and offer a beat sheet. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the latter would be pretty complicated, since each relationship plotline can be affected by the external and internal plotlines and could have a different relationship arc. It also seems I’d need a beat sheet for each relationship arc type, and even within those, there can be variations.
That might be a project for later down the road.
Plus, when you understand the foundational principles first, the beat sheets make more sense and you know how to stray from them for the effect you want.
When you understand the foundational principles, you’re more likely to be a chef, not a cook.
So, with that said, I’ve opted for the former today . . . but next time, I will have an article on key beats (and how they are most frequently structured) that you can manipulate to suit your relationship plotline.