Are the character relationships in your story authentic?
Today lets analyze an oft-overlooked component of storytelling: character relationships.
As storytellers, we frequently search for ways to make our characters as natural as possible: we provide internal battles, external goals, difficult difficulties, and hard choices to make, all while raising the stakes and administering effects for every action our characters take.
I recently read a novel– a great book with fully realized characters, a fascinating plot, and a compelling setting– but after I completed the book, I recognized that the character relationships werent totally established. Nearly every character in the story captivated me, but their relationships didnt rise to a level that felt authentic. The reader was asked to believe that relationships were forming based on minimal interactions without much depth.
Relationships Are Complicated
Relationships are not simple to illustrate, because they are complicated, complex, and often challenging enough in real life– let alone in a fabricated story. Individuals in our lives will undoubtedly dissatisfy us, impress us, harm us, and assist us. And it takes time for bonds to develop and strengthen– bonds that might be shattered in an immediate of betrayal.
There should be conversations (discussion) and events that cause these shifts in relationships.
The relationships in a story will resonate finest if they show reality– if they have lots of the depth and complexities, the downs and ups, that we experience in our own real-life relationships.
In storytelling, everything is about arcs– how things alter over the course of a story. Every considerable occasion in a story causes a modification, small or big. And relationships change, too.
Naturally, romance writers know this: making character relationships feel authentic is their bread and butter. However even outside the love category, relationships can drive an entire story, providing the directing light that leads the characters to their fates.
Plenty of stories do this well. In Harry Potter (aff link), three kids satisfy on a train, and then we enjoy their relationships grow throughout seven books, but not without the periodic setback. Every relationship in the story is made, because we see the relationships forged over time. Thats what makes them credible. Thats what makes them resonate. They feel real.
The Elements of Relationships
What happens in a relationship?
People meet and they struck it off. They get together once again and bond over a shared experience. They swap secrets. They grow better. They share meals, excellent times and bad. Then somebody makes a mistake. Somebody else gets hurt. The relationship suffers a major blow. Will the injury recover? Will they reconnect?
Stories are full of many types of relationships: buddies, family, fans, opponents, coworkers, and acquaintances. Some world views hold that all that matters in the end are the individuals whove touched our lives. This might not be everyones view, however memories are typically less about where we were and what we were doing than who we were with. And stories frequently leave the same impression: readers may not remember every twist and turn of a plot, however they keep in mind the characters. They remember the relationships.
Thats why it makes sense to invest a little time analyzing the character relationships in your story. Do the relationships change over time?
Or maybe theres friction each time they meet. Among them constantly says the wrong thing. The other is constantly in a bad mood. The timing is off. They have absolutely nothing in typical. They cant get along. Theyre stuck with each other.
Relationships have plenty of interesting characteristics: intimacy, betrayal, stress, commitment, dissatisfaction, friendship, and so on. Characters (and casts) that navigate through these dynamics in way that feels authentic will feel genuine and keep readers interested and invested.
I just recently checked out an unique– an extremely good book with totally recognized characters, a fascinating plot, and an engaging setting– but after I completed the book, I understood that the character relationships werent fully established. Almost every character in the story interested me, but their relationships didnt increase to a level that felt authentic. Every relationship in the story is earned, due to the fact that we see the relationships created over time. Thats why it makes sense to spend a little time analyzing the character relationships in your story. Do the relationships alter over time?
What are a few of your techniques for creating rich, realistic character relationships? Share your ideas by leaving a remark, and keep composing!.