I would love to utilize the stages of grief in a way to show the progression of a character's resistance to fall in love. I have some ideas for each. What are some other ideas?

I have a vigilante character on a mission and believes she needs no one. Once she dismantles a crime organization (violently and illegally) she plans on turning herself in. But along the way she's forced to work with a cop and starts to care about the cop's life despite trying very hard not to.

1. Denial

The woman calls the cop dumb names (jokes about donuts or something) or completely ignores them when they speak. Bossy/only talks to them to give an order or explain a plan. The woman cares about the cop's safety but says its because she still needs their help.

2. Anger

The woman gets angry when her informant asks questions about the cop. The woman gets angry at the cop for being distracting/not being focused because the woman got too absorbed in talking with the cop during a stakeout instead of watching the building. The woman gets angry at herself for caring if the cop is happy for not.

3. Bargaining

The woman tells herself that as soon as the cop does what they're needed for she'll drop them off at a diner and leave them. Tells herself that she'll be honest with the cop about who she is before turning herself in. Tells herself she'll let the cop bring her in to help redeem them for helping a criminal

4. Depression

The woman withdraws from the cop, saying she needs space to plan. The woman gets anxious and scared that they will fail destroying the organization and that she ruined the cop's life for nothing. She offers the cop an out - to help them get a new identity or gives them a piece of information about herself no one else knows to the cop can redeem themselves back at work

5. Acceptance

The woman thanks the cop for helping. The woman does something to show that she was listening and does care about the cop - buys their favorite food or disables the mall cameras for an hour so they can go.

1 Answer 1


This idea makes sense. Of course, as your protagonist is not actually experiencing grief, you may have to change some of these phases to more accurately reflect the emotion.

Denial, anger and bargaining make sense. Perhaps 'obsession' might be one, where she can't stop thinking about the cop. Additionally, it's hard to tell from your outline when she falls in love. Maybe having an 'initial interest' stage at the beginning where she first meets him and her romantic interest is sparked. Placing duty and the cop as opposing choices can definitely serve to tighten the plot (assuming I read your outline right).

Ultimately, referring to the five stages of grief could definitely work when outlining falling in love. However, don't stick too rigidly to the stages, because grief and love are two different things.

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