It’s Complicated

“It’s Complicated” is easily my favorite relationship status descriptor. The implication is some kind of wonderful mystery with messiness and possible mayhem thrown in. Imperfection. Confusion. Humanness. Honesty.

For writers, it’s story material. I read those words and my imagination is engaged.

Loss mixed with hope. Vulnerability tossed with trust. Heartache pressed up against triumph. Assurance balanced with insecurity.

I dare you to name one relationship in your life (that matters) where “It’s Complicated” doesn’t apply to some degree.

There’s no one on this planet who makes my life better than the man I’ve been with for more than half of it. He’s my rock and my rudder. He also has the power to throw me into the middle of a storm should he choose to do so. He’s my soft place to land or the provider of a swift kick to my butt—often at the same time—because one or both is perfect. While our relationship is strong without question, it has its complicated moments.

Then there’s my mother. My sister. My dad. My mother-in-law. My bonus kids and granddaughters. My bonus mom and added siblings. Friends who hold pieces of my heart and pets who staked pieces of it out when they died.

If not complicated, what?

This past Sunday I sent my manuscript to my editor. I had tears in my eyes. I love my continuing characters, but I’d also come to love the three young girls whose turning points were within the confines of this story. In the future Jayla, Alexis and Livvy will only come up in passing, if at all.

I made them up.

They’re real.

It’s complicated.

What about you? Do you enjoy reading about complicated relationships or do you like them laid out and easy? How does that contrast with your own life?


It’s better with friends (even when it’s complicated).

Author: Peg Brantley

With the intent to lend her stories credibility, Peg is a graduate of the Aurora Citizens’ Police Academy, attended the Writers’ Police Academy conference, has interviewed crime scene investigators, FBI agents, human trafficking experts, obtained her Concealed Carry Permit, studied diverse topics from arson dogs to Santeria, and hunted down real life locations that show up in her stories.

6 thoughts on “It’s Complicated”

  1. Complicated relationships are like the news, if it bleeds it leads Much as we may want smooth, uncomplicated relationships he our personal life, on the page they can put a reader to sleep. It’s the unexpected, the conflict and the surprise that keeps readers turning pages.


  2. I like some complicatedness, but too much becomes annoying for me. If the characters troubles just keep adding up and adding up and . . . yeah, you get it, if they keep doing that I get to where I’m feeling frustrated and wishing the story (book, movie, TV show, whatever) would hurry up and end. I don’t think any of us want our readers feeling like that.

    But, yeah, that’s just me and I know others feel the more that’s piled on the better.


  3. Complications are the fodder of fiction, but I also agree with Pearl that too much can be annoying. There has to be a ray of hope shining through for me, to pull me through the book.


  4. What a great post, Peg. The relationships in my life sure are complicated sometimes (including my relationship with my day-job computer right now – gah!). Keeps me on my toes.

    I agree with Sue and Nancy that complication are grist for the fiction mill. But I also think they have to make sense and I agree with Sue that there has to be a ray of light at the end of the tunnel. And not the oncoming train!


  5. Great comments, all. I completely agree that if we introduce conflict/complication for the sake of conflict/complication it’s apparent that those issues are contrived and not organic to the story or the character. Without any conflict they’re flat stereotypes and with too much, they’re convoluted creations. My guys pretty much tell me what their issues are and it’s my job to make sure they have to deal with them.

    In real life, I prefer smooth. Solid. Fun. Easy.


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