Character Relationships

Character Creation Series

I’ve always found it hard to make a character’s relationships realistic and natural. That may or may not have to do with the fact that I’m socially awkward and have a hard time forming relationships of my own. Hopefully some of the tips I’ve learned from reading can help.

Changes are Gradual

Despite how the saying goes, making “fast friends” isn’t as fast as you think. Also the words close and fast should not be used together. . . ever. Trust takes a long time to develop and so does becoming close friends. The only relationship change that is fast is a negative one (ex. resentment, betrayal, distrust, hate.) Distance is something that is also gradual, but also the most subtle relationship change. You don’t realize the relationship has become distant until you hit a wall and negative changes develop.

There are Many Types of Relationships

Rarely are two relationships the same for one person, but there are relationship archetypes. The most well known types are the Mentor-Student relationship, the Hero-Villian relationship, and the Sibling relationship. Another relationship type is the Cling-Repel type. If you have that one person you can’t stand who can’t take the hint that you don’t want to be around them and it really eats at you until you explode, you are in this relationship type with that person. The type of relationships your characters have will effect the opinions they have on each other. Experiment with the types of relationships and see what interactions you come up with.

Match Dialogue with the Relationship

You wouldn’t be talking to your best friend in a formal manner, would you? You also wouldn’t talk to your boss like they were your sibling. When it comes to dialogue between two people, it should be based upon the relationship of the speakers. Stiff conversation is understandable if the relationship is tense but not if they are best friends in good moods. Conversations also wont flow easy for two people who don’t like each other and have nothing in common.

Opposites Don’t Always Attract

Opposites don’t always balance each other out, believe me I know from experience. Sometimes opposites repel each other. That’s the whole premise behind the Hero-Villan relationship. Opposites may repel each other but so can those of similar personalities. Having too much in common can prevent character growth through the relationship and can turn intense once a flaw or difference occurs.

Everyone Has That One Friend

This trend pops up on Twitter once in a while and is hilarious to see what people come up with. Take a look and you can pull some ideas from it. (And if you don’t have that one friend, that one friend may be you.)


Don’t Forget to Check Out the Other Posts for Character Creation:

Making Character Profiles in Fiction

It’s Just A Bunch of Backstory

Character Interviews

Choosing Character Names

She’s Got the Look – Character Appearances

Character Opinions

Character Motivation

Character Speech Patterns

Creating Flaws

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2 thoughts on “Character Relationships

  1. Great article, full of things to remember when honing old characters and developing new ones. Currently tweaking characters in my current WIP and starting to think about a future WIP.

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