Friday, December 10, 2010

The Two Sides of a Relationship

I have seen many writers boil down a relationship to a single tag. 'Friendship'. 'Love'. 'Hatred'. 'Rivals'. It's a necessary simplification, one that helps us grasp quickly what is the backbone of the relationship between two characters, but it brings about its dangers.

First, because relationships are more complex than this. Having friends doesn't mean the same for everyone, and even one person will not think the same way about two different friends. There are nuances to every relationship that depend on the characters, and that make it unique.

There is something else that makes every relationship complex, and that is not as often reflected in writing: two characters in a relationship will not think the same way about each other.

The typical example of this is the unrequited love interest. Character A loves Character B with a fiery passion, but Character B couldn't care less.

There are so many other ways this could be exploited, however! I think it's worth it to consider the world from another perspective than the hero's, and see what the surrounding cast think of him, and of each other.

  • Character A could think Character B is a rival, and feel the need to prove himself the better of the two, while Character B is only seeking a friend. 
  • The  hero can have a sidekick, and believe him to be super loyal, whereas the sidekick spends his time wishing he was with another knight.
  • Character A might confide anything in Character B, but Character B seeks comfort elsewhere when he needs it.
  • Character A can think of B as nothing but a colleague, whereas Character B thinks of A as a close friend.
No two characters approach friendships, love interests and rivalries the same way. Take the time to consider how they define these relationships. Watch for differences in how two characters view one another. Bringing them to life can add a layer of tension to any scene or be a bad surprise for your hero. And if you have more than one POV, you get to contrast these opinions, too!

If this isn't fun, I'm not sure what is!

1 comment:

  1. That is so true. Often overlooked, but very true. And a good point to remember to bring added depth and conflict to a story.