Wednesday, February 20, 2008
What would life be like without relationships? Relationships, good and bad, are the cause and effect of our lives, and, not surprisingly, the relationships we create between characters creates a majority of our book's plot. Consider these typical character relationships:
1) The main character (M.C. from now on) and the love interest. Who does the M.C. love? Our choices in love are revealing. We choose someone who embodies a part of ourselves that we want or need to explore. However enchanting the beloved is, we are also falling in love with our future selves. Sometimes we attract others who sense parts of us that we thought we had left behind. Not all love is good for us. How can we complicate our M.C.'s life with love?
2) The M.C. and the best friend. Who do we relate to the most? Usually our friends have common values and different skills. We agree on deep levels but complement each other on the surface. In plots, the best friend or side-kick makes up for whatever weakness the M.C. lacks. Is your M.C. always getting lost? Then maybe his sidekick has innate GPS. Sometimes our friends complement our love interest by fulfilling needs that he or she cannot.
3) The M.C. and the antagonist. What do you have in common with the person you most dislike? Probably more than you'd like to think. Our enemies often have the very faults we fear having ourselves. Sometimes our enemies remind us of mistakes we've made, losses we've suffered or childhood figures. Consider why the M.C. hates the antagonist. Play up the that dark mirror. Think of Luke and Darth Vader.
4) Mix and match relationships. You know it's never simple in real-life. Some of our best enemies were once friends, and sometimes the reverse is true. Write your characters' relationships as they develop and change.
One of the great perks of writing a book is that you get to decide how things turn out. So, dig into the archives of your heart and let your characters say those unspoken words.