Do you ever feel as though you have “fallen out of love” with your writing projects? Like writing has become the drudgery of laundry and dishes instead of the heart-pounding flutter it used to be? Would you like those feelings back?
In 1997, Dr. Arthur Aron, Psychology Professor of the Interpersonal Relationships Lab at Stony Brook University in New York, created a method with the aim of interpersonal closeness. He brought his initial test subjects, a man and a woman who had no romantic inclination for each other, into his lab. Fun date, eh?
The main task was a series of 36 questions that the man and woman asked each other. His findings concluded that some personal connections were made. (Others have since claimed that the questions led to romance for them.)
Can these questions be used to light the writer’s spark again? How about if we asked our fictional characters these questions? Some of the less personal questions could even be applied to interviews for our nonfiction newspaper and magazine articles.
The questions all generate differing levels of insight and may be considered quite personal. Therefore, use them with caution on your “real” people.
Here are the first 21 questions. The others can be found at the following link: http://www.stafforini.com/
Note that you will need to scroll to bottom of his psychology paper to find them.
Innamorasi! (Fall in love!)
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. I f you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
What do you think? Do your characters sweep you off your feet again?
Aron, Arthur. “The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Volume 23. No. 4. April 1997. Web. 26 Jan. 2015
Pamela is an “English as an Additional Language Instructor” and “Language Assessor” in Saskatchewan. She loves baking, reading, and spending time with her family, which has grown to include a sweet grandson. She writes for her local newspaper and, as Acquisitions Editor for Fellowscript, she enjoys working with writers to see their ideas in print. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org