There has been a story in me for quite a while. It is of two girls, set in a feudal/medieval era. They met as children. One is a antisocial bookworm, highly opinionated with a quiet steely composure. The other is the youngest heir of nobility; a free spirit used to having her way all her life. Not an arrogant rich kid, but wild and untempered.

When they meet there are sparks. Through the friction there is borne a friendship. And from the friendship something more.

Can anyone advise me how go about developing their relationship?

  • I do not need specific plot points or story lines and such, just how can I get into the characters' minds.
  • Being a male writer, is there any advice on capturing the opposite gender's voice as well?
  • Generic advice: find some women who are friends and ask how they became friends. Jan 6, 2019 at 18:52
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    You say "and from the friendship something more", but your headline says it is a "platonic" relationship. So what is "more"? The deepest friendships are still friendships; even brotherly/sisterly love relationships. The only "more than friends" I can think of is romantic love. I'm not sure what you are aiming for; are you just reluctant to say they fall in love?
    – Amadeus
    Jan 6, 2019 at 19:21
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    medieval and bookworm... must have been a multi-billionaire of the time. :)
    – NofP
    Jan 6, 2019 at 20:31
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    I am wondering where it is set. Medieval Europe could have the bookworm charged with witchcraft as it would have been most extraordinary for a woman to read. Literacy was for the clergy and some nobles, but the peasants were illiterate.
    – Rasdashan
    Jan 6, 2019 at 23:02
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    @Rasdashan: Actually, high nobility women in Europe could read, as well as women in monastic orders (at least most). But nowhere would an opinionated woman be accepted by men. A woman was free to exert dominion over other women... for as long as she was socially above them, naturally. Curiously, peasant women might be able to be freer than nobility women. The former must submit to the dictates of father and brothers, and be ready to be used in the making of alliances; the latter, if the parents were not too strict, might have more freedom to move and flirt (no need for political alliances). Jan 7, 2019 at 0:44

1 Answer 1


One key difference between a friendship and love is the sense of longing.

You can show a friendly relationship when the two characters are together, but it is in the moments of separation that you can show the reader that there is much more than what meets the eye. A reader does not need a definition of their feelings written down, they need to feel it. As a matter of fact, expressions like "love each other" or that "care for each other" can have such different meanings across people and cultures, that you would be detracting from your love-story by even trying to define such a relationship.

Some stereotypical examples of longing:

  1. Character A may repeat the same way every day, hoping to come across character B. She may even slow down her pace hoping to give more time to the other character show up. She may frequently stop and turn her head to the direction where she thinks the other character is.

  2. Character A is shown as distracted, bothered in every single task, until character B shows up, in which case everything becomes exciting again.

  3. Character A starts measuring every person and detail of the world by comparison with character B. The corn fields are golden like her cheeks; the stable boy is not taller than character B; the soup taste like the soup she had with character B; the chair is cold like character B's hands.

  4. A short delay in the encounter with character B causes a major drama.

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