Posted by: nancycurteman | September 13, 2015

12 Elements Needed to Write Strong Character Relationships

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th-1Story people like people in real life do not exist in their world alone. They relate to and interact with both principal and secondary characters. These relationships influence character behavior and development. Here are 12 elements needed to write strong character relationships:

1. Relationships begin with roles such as family—mother, father, daughter, son; and Community or work-related roles—boss, employee, small business owner, professional. Define these roles.

2. Have your characters act differently around different characters. A successful college professor may lose all control in a classroom of kindergartners. A strong executive may turn to a gelatinous mass when he encounters a character with whom he’s infatuated.

3 Provide a reason characters come together and stay together. Shared interests or goals or opposing interests or goals.

4. Give your characters a common bond that brings them together such as a job. Their approach to the job can be completely different causing conflict between them, but they stay together to complete that job.

5. Just as there is a bond that keeps characters together there should be conflict which threatens to pull the characters apart. This could be anything from a minor difference of opinion to enemies in a war. The conflict in relationships provides the drama.

6. Give your characters contrasting personality traits. They can be total opposites but complement each other in a way that enables them to accomplish a goal.

7. The relationship could transform both characters – for better or worse. Make both characters in the relationship tend to blend, and become more like each other. The conservative character loosens up while the risk-taker becomes a bit more cautious.

8. Give your characters conflicting emotions. People can both love and hate at the same time–a character can love a child/spouse/relative, while at the same time they irritate him.

9.Characters should need each other but one should not be too dependent on the other.

10. Look at how characters benefit each other as they struggle with inner fears and grapple with problems.

11. Create a complex network of relationships. An author wants her readers to love her, but also wants her son to be impressed with his mom’s dynamic writing; she wants her husband to understand her passion for writing.

12. Use relationships to reveal character traits. You can tell a lot about characters based on what other story people have to say about them.

Important: These rules must apply to the relationships of the non-main characters as well.

Relationships between characters should be as interesting and dynamic as the characters themselves.

More Tips:

5 Ways Negative Traits Make Mystery Novel Characters More Interesting

Perfect Characters are Paper Characters



  1. Reblogged this on Life as a Writer and Artist and commented:
    Thanks, Nancy


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